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20 Years of Success: CDC Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Vaccines for Children Program

Source: CDC News Release

09/12/2013

Twenty years ago, legislation created the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC), a successful public-private partnership to improve public health. This program provides vaccines to children whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford them, and it improves children’s chance of being immunized against 16 serious diseases including measles, mumps, whooping cough, chickenpox, flu, and diphtheria. The United States saw a measles epidemic in 1989-1991 that caused tens of thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than half of the children who had measles had not been vaccinated. In part as a response to that epidemic, Congress created the VFC Program under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993. In the program, the CDC buys vaccines at a discount and distributes them to enrolled VFC providers for free. There are more than 44,000 doctors currently enrolled in the VFC Program. Improved childhood immunization coverage has contributed to the lowest vaccine-preventable disease incidence ever recorded.



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