Immunization Issues

Immunization Policy

In the United States, the federal government plays a variety of roles in immunization programs.

Although vaccines are made by private companies and immunization policies are set individually by every state, various agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have roles in regulating vaccine production, purchasing vaccines and making them available to states.

The federal government makes recommendations for states to consider in setting immunization policies, such as requirements for school and day care enrollment. The federal government also ensures the sufficiency of the nation?s vaccine supply.

This section includes information about how vaccines are licensed, financed and recommended among other immunization policy topics.


Exemptions from Immunization Laws

Currently, all 50 US states have school immunization laws. However, in most states vaccination exemptions are allowed for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.

Updated: July 23, 2012 | Read full article...

Financing Immunizations

Vaccine development and manufacture today entail high costs, making some vaccines expensive. How are the Federal and State governments in the US financing immunizations so they can be available to the public?

Updated: June 16, 2004 | Read full article...

Immunization Registries

Immunization registries are confidential, computerized information systems that contain information about immunizations and children from a particular geographical area. They facilitate high immunization coverage rates and minimize children being over immunized.

Updated: November 17, 2006 | Read full article...

Indications, Recommendations and Immunization Mandates

The development of vaccine schedules and recommendations is a complex process. Here we answer some of the most common questions regarding indications, recommendations and laws for vaccine use.

Updated: February 12, 2009 | Read full article...

National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program compensates people who are determined to have been injured by vaccines. How does the VICP work?

Updated: December 29, 2008 | Read full article...

Orphan Vaccines

When a vaccine is likely to be targeted to a limited number of individuals in the US—such as those suffering from a rare disease—it is called an “orphan vaccine”. Are there any orphan vaccines licensed in the US?

Updated: January 5, 2006 | Read full article...

Programa Nacional para la Compensación de Daños por Vacunas (VICP)

El Programa Nacional para la Compensación de Daños por Vacunas paga a la gente que ha sufrido daños por las vacunas.

Updated: October 13, 2011 | Read full article...

Vaccine Economics

Public health officials often consider the expense and value of a healthcare intervention—such as a new vaccine—in terms of its value to society. That is, all costs and benefits, regardless as to who pays the costs and who obtains the benefit. This article explains how economic tools are applied to vaccines and immunizations.

Updated: November 2, 2006 | Read full article...

Vaccine Supply and Shortages

Safe and effective vaccines are central to the prevention and control of communicable diseases. As a consequence, any shortage of vaccine places children and adults at risk for vaccine-preventable diseases.

Updated: October 18, 2006 | Read full article...

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