Medicaid plays a key role in the prevention of disease by facilitating access to vaccines. All Medicaid-eligible children under the age of 21 are entitled to receive all vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP).
In response to a measles epidemic in 1989-1991, Congress passed legislation that created the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program in 1993. The VFC program provides vaccines for millions of children enrolled in Medicaid each year, preventing millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths. By providing vaccines for eligible children at no charge to public and private health-care providers, the VFC program helps reinforce the concept of the "medical home." Furthermore, because all children who are patients of federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics are VFC-eligible, the VFC program helps to strengthen the care given by these vital safety-net providers.
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