Pediatricians' Experiences With and Perceptions of the Vaccines for Children Program

Pediatrics. 2020 Mar;145(3):e20191207. doi: 10.1542/peds.2019-1207. Epub 2020 Feb 21.


Background and objectives: The Vaccines for Children Program (VFC) provides vaccines for children who may not otherwise be vaccinated because of financial barriers. Pediatrician participation is crucial to the VFC's ongoing success. Our objectives were to assess, among a national sample of pediatricians, (1) VFC program participation, (2) perceived burden versus benefit of participation, and (3) knowledge and perception of a time-limited increased payment for VFC vaccine administration under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Methods: An electronic and mail survey was conducted from June 2017 to September 2017.

Results: Response rate was 79% (372 of 471); 86% of pediatricians reported currently participating in the VFC; among those, 85% reported never having considered stopping, 10% considered it but not seriously, and 5% seriously considered it. Among those who had considered no longer participating (n = 47), the most commonly reported reasons included difficulty meeting VFC record-keeping requirements (74%), concern about action by the VFC for noncompliance (61%), and unpredictable VFC vaccine supplies (59%). Participating pediatricians rated, on a scale from -5 (high burden) to +5 (high benefit), their overall perception of the VFC: 63% reported +4 or +5, 23% reported +1 to +3, 5% reported 0, and 9% reported -1 to -5. Of pediatricians, 39% reported awareness of temporary increased payment for VFC vaccine administration. Among those, 10% reported that their practice increased the proportion of Medicaid and/or VFC-eligible patients served on the basis of this change.

Conclusions: For most pediatricians, perceived benefits of VFC participation far outweigh perceived burdens. To ensure the program's ongoing success, it will be important to monitor factors influencing provider participation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs*
  • Male
  • Pediatrics*
  • United States