Written by Patty Kumbera
December 13, 2017
Written by Patty Kumbera
Beginning January 1, 2018, all Vaccines for Children (VFC) providers will be mandated to meet new storage and handling requirements. Are you prepared?
Background: VFC and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA)
The VFC program was implemented to address a specific measles epidemic that occurred during 1989–1991. Over this three-year period, tens of thousands of cases of measles were reported, resulting in hundreds of deaths. Upon investigation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered that more than 50 percent of children affected had not been immunized, despite having seen a health care provider.
Responding to this critical situation, Congress passed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) in August 1993, which resulted in the creation of the Vaccines for Children program in October 1994. Known officially as section 1928 of the Social Security Act, VFC is an entitlement program—a right guaranteed by law—for eligible children ages 18 and younger.
VFC fulfills two important functions:
The Challenges of VFC Implementation
Many partners and collaborating agencies work together with the goal of vaccinating VFC-eligible children with viable, properly handled vaccines. While this cooperative effort is a positive step forward, it also presents challenges to implementing a uniform, national set of standards. In short, each state has its own governance over its vaccine program and supply. Even the temperature monitoring best practices advocated by VFC and CDC are not enforced at the state-level. For companies that operate in multiple states, the logistical burden to meet different requirements can be a challenge.
Successful implementation of the VFC program requires close collaboration with people just like you. Other programs and agencies that contribute to the program's success include:
What Are the New VFC Standards?
Depending on the state, some of the following standards are required, while others are only recommended:
VFC Temperature Monitoring Equipment Requirements
As is evident in the new standards, routine review of and access to temperature data are critical for determining whether a vaccine has been properly stored, and more importantly, whether it can be administered if it was actually involved in a temperature excursion. That means no later than January 1, 2018, all VFC providers must use continuous temperature monitoring devices within units that store vaccines to be administered to VFC-eligible children. To meet VFC program requirements, these devices must also be equipped with:
Providers without the mandate’s requirements in place on January 1, 2018, will be suspended from ordering vaccines via VFC programs. Fortunately, SmartSense devices have all of the required capabilities that meet the 2018 VFC mandate. Please contact us to find a solution that meets your needs.
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