Examining the Need for a Potential Vaccines for All ProgramFebruary 7, 2024
Ensuring that all individuals have access to recommended vaccines — the most effective way to protect both children and adults from many serious and potentially deadly diseases — is a public health priority. Several federal programs exist to advance vaccine access and equity. For more than 30 years, the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program, a federally funded program, has provided all ACIP-recommended vaccines free of cost to children who may not otherwise be able to be vaccinated due to inability pay. Furthermore, in response to COVID-19 vaccines’ transition to the commercial market, CDC and HHS established the Bridge Access Program, which provides free COVID-19 vaccines for the 25-30 million adults who do not have health insurance or whose health insurance does not cover all COVID-19 vaccine costs.
However, as the Bridge Access Program is set to expire at the end of 2024, the U.S. may soon face a major gap in vaccine equity as uninsured adults will be without a federal program that ensures their access to free vaccines. Given the success of the VFC program, public health advocates have called for a Vaccines for Adults or Vaccines for All program that would ensure that both children and adults—regardless of their insurance status—have access to all recommended vaccines.
To further this ongoing conversation, the COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project hosted an online event aimed at examining the need for a federal vaccine program such as Vaccines for Adults or Vaccines for All. Panelists discussed the low rates of recommended adult immunizations and the need for a federal program that ensures adults’ access to vaccines, the success of the VFC program as a model, and the potential impacts of the creation of such a program.
- Evelyn Twentyman, MD, MPH, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- L.J Tan, MS, PhD, Chief Policy and Partnerships Officer, Immunize.org
- Patsy Stinchfield, RN, MS, CPNP, President, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID)
- Moderator: Sue Peschin, MHS, President and CEO, Alliance for Aging Research
Watch the discussion below.