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Free Vaccines - Low Cost Vaccines

Immunization Basics

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Updated June 25, 2014

Children may receive up to 36 vaccines by the time they are four years old, including a yearly flu vaccine and everything else in the childhood immunization schedule.

Many of these vaccines -- especially newer vaccines like Prevnar and the rotavirus vaccines -- are rather expensive, which can make getting all of the vaccines difficult for children who are uninsured or underinsured.

Underinsured children may have insurance, but that insurance may not pay for immunizations, may not pay for certain vaccines, or may have a cap or limit on how much vaccine coverage they have.

Free Vaccines

Surprising to most parents, there are actually many places they can take their kids to get free vaccines. Keep in mind that some of these places do charge a small vaccine administration fee though, which can range from $5 to $15 per vaccine or per visit.

If your children are uninsured or underinsured, places you might be able to get free vaccines include:

  • doctors that participate in the Vaccines for Children Program, a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to doctors that they can give to children who might not otherwise be able to afford vaccines.
  • your city or county health department
  • some WIC clinics for WIC-eligible children
  • monthly immunization clinics sponsored by hospitals, schools, and churches, etc.

Vaccine Prices

How much would you have to pay for your child's vaccines if you had to pay full price without any help from insurance or a free vaccine clinic?

Using the CDC Vaccine Price List, to get all of the vaccines on the childhood immunization schedule that children need to start school, including a yearly flu shot, you could pay at least $1,200.

The actual amount would be even more, as that price is basically what your pediatrician pays for the vaccines and doesn't even include a vaccine administration fee.



Sources:

CDC. CDC Vaccine Price List. Accessed May 2009.
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/cdc-vac-price-list.htm

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