Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about NC Childhood Immunizations
Which vaccines does my child need for school entry in North Carolina?
Your child must be vaccinated against 10 diseases to enter school in North Carolina. Those diseases are:
- haemophilus influenza type B (Hib)
- hepatitis B
How much will the vaccines cost? A federal program, called the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, provides these vaccines at no cost to children through age 18 who are one of the following:
- American Indian or Alaska Native
- Underinsured. Underinsured means your child has health insurance, but it won't cover the vaccine(s) because:
- It doesn’t cover any vaccines.
- It doesn’t cover certain vaccines.
- It covers vaccines, but it has a fixed dollar limit or cap for vaccines. Once that fixed dollar amount has been reached, your child is eligible.
Even though vaccines are provided for free through the VFC program, there can be other costs to the VFC visit. There are two kinds of fees doctors can charge:
- Administration Fee. Doctors can charge a fee to give each shot. However, VFC vaccines cannot be denied to an eligible child if the family cannot afford the fee.
- Office Visit Fee. There can be a fee for the office visit, unless it’s an immunization only visit.
If you are insured, you should know that many health insurance companies cover the cost of vaccines and vaccine services. You may have to reach a deductible or make a co-payment. Contact your health insurance company to find out which vaccines, and vaccine services, are covered under your plan. Be sure to ask whether you are responsible for paying a portion of the cost for the vaccines.
If my child’s insurance is provided by N.C. Health Choice, is he/she eligible for VFC Vaccine?
No. A child with NC Health Choice is considered insured and is not eligible for VFC vaccine.
My child has private health insurance, and I've never paid for vaccines required for school entry in North Carolina. Why do I have to pay for them now?
The North Carolina Immunization Program (NCIP) has changed to a Vaccines for Children (VFC)-only program. To assist in the transition this change will cause, the state legislature has approved $3 million in one-time funding to purchase vaccines for children who do not qualify for the VFC program for the 2010-2011 school year. Vaccines will still be provided at no cost to the approximately 67 percent of children in North Carolina who qualify for VFC vaccine.
Who can receive vaccine that is part of the transition plan?
Children entering kindergarten through eighth grade who are not eligible for the VFC program (insured children) may receive vaccine that is part of the transition plan at no cost. Patients may be required to pay a fee for the administration of the vaccine, but they do not have to pay a fee for the vaccine itself.
Where can a person receive vaccine that is part of the transition plan?
Local Health Departments will choose where vaccine that is part of the transition plan will be available in their counties (at the LHD and/or private doctors' offices). In some cases, a parent may need to take their insured child to the local health department to receive their vaccinations. Please contact your private provider to check availability of vaccines. Once the supply of free vaccine is depleted, patients with insurance will need to use their insurance plan to receive vaccine services. In some cases, this may require out of pocket costs.
Does the transition plan apply to infants or pre-schoolers?
The one-time funding from the state legislature is for the purchase of vaccines needed for school entry only. Because of this, transition money is being used to purchase only those vaccines required by law for school entry in North Carolina.
Will I need to go to the health department from now on for my child's immunizations?
It is always best for a child to receive immunizations in his or her medical home; however some private physicians may decide not to continue offering immunizations as part of their routine care. Talk with your health care provider to find out the best plan for your family.
What about college/university entry?
Vaccines needed for college and university entry are not included in the transition plan. Visit http://www.immunize.nc.gov/ for details on what vaccines are required by state law for college/university entry.
Where can I get more information?
For more information about the VFC Program, immunizations required for school entry in North Carolina, and general information on vaccines, visit http://www.immunize.nc.gov/
Once the transitional supply of vaccine is depleted, patients with private insurance will be required to pay for the vaccine (if available) and file their own insurance claim.