About Vaccine Funding and Selection

Rhode Island law requires the Department of Health to provide vaccines for routine childhood immunization for children as recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the American Academy of Pediatrics and adult vaccines as recommended by the ACIP to the extent permitted by available funds. Eliminating cost as a barrier to immunization helps to ensure that all children and adults are vaccinated according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended childhood, adolescent and adult immunization schedules.

The Department of Health receives feedback and guidance on state vaccine policy from the Vaccine Advisory Committee.

Funding Sources

Rhode Island's vaccine policy is supported by three major funding sources:

  1. Federal funding through the Vaccines for Children Program provides all recommended vaccines for eligible children. Eligible children include those that are uninsured, under-insured (insurance does not cover vaccine), Medicaid eligible, and American Indian or Alaska Native.
  2. Rhode Island law requires insurers to provide vaccine funding for insured children and adults. Annual assessments are based on direct premiums written in the year prior to the assessment.
  3. The Section 317 Program is a discretionary federal grant program that provides vaccines to underinsured children and adolescents not served by the Vaccines for Children program, and as funding permits to uninsured and underinsured adults.

Guiding Principles in Vaccine Selection

  • Provide vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and published in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
  • Base changes in current vaccine policy on supporting rationale. Changes should not cause undue confusion or chaos among vaccine providers.
  • Give preference to the least expensive vaccine when there is a meaningful choice between two or more competing vaccines of the same type.
  • Minimize the cost of purchase and delivery of vaccines to maintain Rhode Island's universal vaccine financing policy.
  • To minimize the number of injections received and to increase immunization rates, combination vaccines are preferred over their equivalent component vaccines.
  • Minimize over-vaccination.
  • Avoid changes in type and schedule of vaccine administration whenever possible.
  • Avoid polypharmacy (the use of different formulations of the same vaccine) throughout the state and limit growth of storage demands for vaccines in provider sites.
  • After the listed criteria are met, the committee will take into consideration a balance in the market share of the companies manufacturing the vaccine or a combination vaccine in question.