Vaccines for Children program saves public an estimated $1.38 trillionApril 24, 2014
The Vaccines for Children program (VFC) was established in 1994 to ensure that children whose families cannot afford to pay for vaccine do not become infected with vaccine-preventable diseases, and since then, it has saved society an estimated $1.38 trillion according to data from the National Immunization Survey (NIS). VFC was a creation of the 1993 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act and a response to a surge of some 55,000 measles cases from 1989-1991. This measles scare was found to be a result of so many uninsured children not receiving the vaccine at the crucial age of twelve to fifteen months, which highlighted a significant threat to public health and society at large.
VFC aimed to provide protection for these vulnerable children against, initially, nine diseases – diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, haemophilus influenzae type B, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, and rubella. Since, it has since added five more – varicella, hepatitis A, pneumococcal disease, rotavirus, and influenza.
In all cases, overall rates of vaccination have been higher during the VFC era than before. Furthermore, NIS data indicates that, among the 78.6 million children born from 1994-2013, vaccination will have prevented 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths. These preventative measures yield, overall, a net savings of $295 billion in direct healthcare costs and $1.38 trillion in overall societal costs.