Since the early 1990s, Washington has maintained a state-supplied universal vaccine program for children (Childhood Vaccine Program) in which the state purchased vaccines at bulk discount rates for all children under age 19 and provided them to physicians and other providers at no cost. In 2009, the Washington State budget deficit led the Legislature to eliminate funding for the Childhood Vaccine Program by May 1, 2010, effectively ending state-supplied vaccine for children covered by private health insurance.
On March 23, 2010 Governor Gregoire signed into law House Bill 2551, which saved the Childhood Vaccine Program from elimination by requiring health plans and other payers to make payments to the state based on the cost of the vaccine their members receive. The legislation also established the Washington Vaccine Association to facilitate those payments from the payers to the state.
Funding for vaccines
In Washington State vaccines are purchased by the state with funds from national Vaccines for Children (VFC) funds, 319 stimulus funds and assessments from payers.
Benefits of the universal system
- All practices across Washington State receive state supplied vaccine at no cost for all children in the practice.
- Practices do not need to have the financial risk and resources and extra staff to manage privately purchased vaccines.
- There is no need for practices to keep separate inventory for VFC and private vaccine stock.
- Collaboration between the public health departments, state department of health, physicians, payers and other immunization stakeholders.
- Improved immunization rates in our state.
- Minimal cost is added to the system with preserved purchasing from the CDC at discounted rates.
Members of the WCAAP work with the immunization stakeholder community, are appointed to the Washington State Vaccine Association board, attend the Washington State Department of Health Vaccine Advisory Committee, and collaborate with the Washington State Medical Association and Washington Academy of Family Physicians to preserve access to vaccines for all children in Washington State.