This report assesses the administrative, fiscal, and political feasibility of implementing a universal childhood vaccine purchasing program in New York State. Program benefits, stakeholder impacts, and implementation challenges were considered through interviews with key stakeholders, program managers in states with universal vaccine purchasing programs, and independent experts. Costs were estimated from population data, immunization schedules, and a range of possible purchase prices. Findings illustrate that a universal vaccine purchasing program is feasible in New York and could result in benefits for children and primary care providers, but ought to build upon existing infrastructure and incorporate lessons from other states’ experiences.
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This report assesses the administrative, fiscal, and political feasibility of implementing a universal vaccine purchase and distribution program in New York State. Universal childhood vaccine purchasing would entail state purchase and delivery of all vaccines for privately insured children and adolescents in the state free of charge to providers. The goals of universal vaccine purchasing include addressing physicians’ concerns about rising costs for providing immunizations to children and adolescents, maintaining and increasing immunization rates, and supporting continuity of medical care in children’s medical homes.
Six “universal” states presently purchase all recommended pediatric vaccines for privately insured children. An additional nine “universal-select” states purchase most vaccines for this group, typically excluding only the most expensive vaccines. State purchase of vaccines for privately insured children is one strategy for addressing the growing financial strain on providers who administer childhood immunizations. As additional and more expensive vaccines are included in the recommended immunization schedule, pediatricians and family practitioners are struggling to pay in advance for the vaccines they administer. Furthermore, providers frequently report inadequate reimbursements from health plans for the vaccine serum as well as the additional costs of storing and administering the vaccine.
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