Richard Hughes, Member of the Firm, moderates a panel discussion, "The Future of the Vaccine Safety Net: Ensuring Equity, Access, Innovation, and the Business of Vaccines," at the BIO International Convention, which runs from June 5 to 8.
The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program was established in 1994 to increase access to childhood vaccinations. VFC has successfully removed financial barriers to vaccination and increased sites of care for vaccinations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that throughout the lives of children born between 1994 and 2021, 472 million illnesses will be prevented, more than 1 million deaths will be avoided, and nearly $2.2 trillion in societal costs will be saved as a result of the VFC program. As a result, VFC fostering higher uptake of vaccines has also helped stabilize the vaccine market and spur new innovations.
While VFC is broadly considered to be a success, barriers to participation in the program by certain providers and financial disincentives for provider participation still exist. While pharmacists could vaccinate down to 3 years old during the pandemic under the PREP Act, not all states allow for VFC participation by providers, and the administrative burden for participation is often cited as a barrier. Additionally, while VFC extends coverage to all children, the COVID-19 pandemic brought to light gaps in adult vaccination coverage and programs, as no comparable safety net exists for the adult population.
Featuring speakers from industry, government, medicine, and public health, this session will explore current VFC program challenges, how access impacts the business of vaccines, the impact of the program on spurring vaccine R&D innovations, strategies for refining program infrastructure to ensure equitable access and high childhood immunization rates, and options for building an adult vaccine safety net.
For more information, visit Bio.org.