April 18 marks the beginning of National Infant Immunization Week, an annual observance highlighting the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases. It also celebrates the achievements of immunization programs thus far. This recognition might not seem like something big to celebrate, but think of all the diseases we are now able to better manage because of the available vaccines—measles, whooping cough, chicken pox, and polio, just to name a few.
It is very important to have up-to-date vaccines for children, especially newborns. Unfortunately, doctor visits and immunizations can be expensive—even more so if the sole provider does not have the insurance to cover the child. If you are providing for a bigger family, the costs could be more than half of your paycheck. Thankfully, there are two great websites that provide multiple options for inexpensive vaccines.
Immunize for Good
This website lists the different shots both you and your child need depending on age. It has a wonderful resource page that explains different types of free or low-cost vaccine programs, like Vaccines for Children (VFC), which provides vaccines at no cost to doctors who serve eligible children. Children 19 years old and younger are eligible for VFC vaccines if they are Medicaid-eligible, American Indian or Alaska Native, or have no health insurance.
On this website, you can find great information on necessary vaccines for everyone from newborns to teenagers to seniors. It provides the latest vaccine resources and requirements from federal agencies for all ages.
If you’re seeking insurance on a budget, visit the Health Insurance Marketplace. Find out if you qualify for free or low-cost coverage available through Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Most Americans are eligible to use the Marketplace.
Children can receive over 30 vaccines by the time they are four years old. That’s a lot to keep a child healthy! Check out school-based health centers, community-funded clinics, and your state’s healthcare and family services for other low-cost immunization options.
Take a few moments to research the proper places that provide free or low-cost vaccines for your child. If you opt out of vaccinating him or her, you risk multiple doctor visits, hospitalizations, and in some cases even premature death. Sick children can also cause parents to lose time from work. It’s worth the research and the vaccinations to prevent these issues, and in turn give your child the best chance for success throughout his or her life.