2023 marks the 30th anniversary of the passage of H.R. 2264:1993: the legislation that created the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program.
The CDC estimates the vaccination of children born between 1994 and 2021 has:
- Prevented 472 million illnesses. This number is greater than the current population of the United States.
- Helped avoid 1,052,000 deaths. If this number represented the population of a city, it would be the 10th largest city in the U.S. It would be more populous than San Jose, CA; Austin, TX; Jacksonville, FL; Columbus, OH; Indianapolis, IN; Charlotte, NC; and Denver, CO.
- Saved $2.2 trillion in total societal costs. That’s more than $5,000 for each American.
Ongoing support and administration of the VFC program represents a key resource in the continued fight against preventable childhood illness and death.
Each state awardee is responsible for the management and VFC requirements in their jurisdiction. VFC awardees are usually state health departments or local public health agencies.
VFC awardees also set the program requirements for VFC providers. This varies from state-to-state but often includes activities such as monitoring patient eligibility, adhering to proper vaccine storage and handling requirements, and maintaining appropriate data and audit reporting.
While they may seem cumbersome or redundant, VFC guidelines are key to the program’s success. VFC guidelines protect the investment the program has made and ensure it can continue to offer vaccines at no cost to patients or providers.
Protecting VFC Inventory: Medical-Grade Equipment is Key
State awardees use CDC requirements as a baseline for VFC inventory storage requirements. While there are similarities from state-to-state, each awardee independently publishes and maintains VFC requirements for providers in their jurisdiction.
Storage and handling are key components of awardee requirements for VFC programs. Because of the increased performance and visibility provided, most awardees have begun recommending or requiring the use of purpose-built medical-grade cold storage equipment to store VFC inventory.
Purpose-built medical-grade refrigerators and freezers provide superior temperature performance by using microprocessor-based forced air refrigeration. This improves temperature stability, uniformity, and recovery compared to non-medical grade equipment.
Many medical-grade units also provide enhanced visibility and reporting capabilities compared to non-medical grade equipment. The ability to accurately monitor conditions inside refrigerators and freezers used to store vaccines supports VFC reporting requirements and ensures proper steps can be taken if a unit fails.
Medical-grade refrigerators and freezers also include key features such as self-closing doors and alarms, which provide an added layer of protection for stored items. These features reduce the risk of inventory being lost due to a door being left open inadvertently or a refrigerator or freezer falling out of temperature and not alerting staff members who can troubleshoot before vaccines are damaged.
Other Blogs You Might Be Interested In...
- VFC Program Increases Access, Improves Public Health
- Preparing Your Cold Storage for a VFC Site Visit
- Explaining the NSF/ANSI 456 Vaccine Storage Standard
- 5 Best Practices for Proper Vaccine Storage in a Refrigerator, Freezer
Helmer Scientific manufactures medical-grade refrigerators and freezers specifically designed for the storage of temperature-sensitive vaccines. Our vaccine refrigerators and freezers are certified to the NSF/ANSI 456 Vaccine Storage Standard.
Storing VFC inventory in medical-grade equipment reduces the risk of vaccine waste due to improper storage. It also provides increased efficiency and visibility to support VFC requirements.