Healthcare providers who wish to receive vaccine from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Immunization Program must enroll each year. The Enrollment letter and the Agreement to Comply with Federal and State Requirements For Participation in the MDPH Immunization Program gives an overview of the enrollment process and requirements.
Here are the requirements for enrolling in the Immunization Program:
- Each provider must read the Guidelines for Compliance with Federal Vaccine Administration Requirements annually.
- Create a Vaccine Management Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for your practice. The sample SOP can be downloaded and filled out accordingly.
- Read the Restitution Policy to fully understand your practice’s responsibility in the event of a vaccine loss.
- As of January 1, 2018, MDPH requires all pediatric practices (any site that administers at least some vaccine to those <19 years of age, excluding flu only sites) to have pharmaceutical grade refrigerators for all refrigerated vaccine storage units and standalone freezers for all frozen vaccines in their facility as stated in the Pharmaceutical Grade Refrigerator Requirements resource.
- Both the Vaccine Coordinator and Back-up Vaccine Coordinator must have documentation of an Annual Vaccines for Children (VFC) Compliance Training for the current year in order to enroll for the next year. For more information on the Annual Vaccines for Children (VFC) Compliance Training, please see the section below entitled VFC Eligibility.
- Providers must complete detailed information on each vaccine storage unit in the Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS).
If you have any questions about enrolling in the Immunization Program, please contact the Vaccine Unit at (617) 983-6828.
Vaccine Availability and Ordering
MDPH universally provides routinely recommended pediatric vaccine to all children through 18 years of age as seen on our Childhood Availability Table.
Providers must utilize the Vaccine Management Module in the Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS) to order, return, and track vaccine.
Borrowing of state supplied vaccine should be extremely rare. Borrowing of state supplied vaccine for adult patients (patients over 19) is not allowed. State supplied vaccine cannot be used as a replacement system for a provider’s privately purchased vaccine inventory. Providers should use the state supplied Borrowing Form (DOC) for each occurrence and contact the Vaccine Unit at (617) 983-6828.
Vaccines for Children Eligibility
The federal Vaccines for Children Program (VFC) requires providers to screen anyone less than 19 years of age for VFC eligibility at every immunization visit. The outcome of this screening must be documented and dated. Documentation of VFC eligibility may be captured in hardcopy (paper) or through electronic health record (EHR) systems.
Many EHRs have created internal drop-down menus offering several options for VFC eligibility. Unfortunately, some of these options are not appropriate for use in every state, or are not in accordance with VFC standard definitions. To establish consistency, below are the only options that should be selected when documenting VFC eligibility in Massachusetts.
Please note that despite the presence of alternate options in respective EHRs, only the following categories are acceptable for reporting VFC eligibility:
- VFC Eligible – Medicaid: a child eligible for MassHealth or Medicaid, including Medicaid HMOs. This category may be selected even if the child has MassHealth or Medicaid as their secondary insurance.
- VFC Eligible – Uninsured: a child with no insurance.
- VFC Eligible – American Indian/Alaskan Native: a child who (or whose parent/guardian) self identifies as American Indian (Native American) or Alaskan Native. Please note that no documentation/verification is required.
- Not VFC Eligible: Any child with private health insurance.
In addition, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) may also utilize the following option when applicable:
- VFC Eligible – Underinsured: a child with private health insurance that does not cover vaccines.
The use of any other options, including, but not limited to: state specific eligible, local specific eligible, unknown or names of other specific programs is not acceptable in Massachusetts.
The documents, Patient Eligibility Screening Form for Federally Qualified Health Centers (DOC) and Patient Eligibility Screening Form (DOC) can be used to identify VFC eligible patients.
If you have any questions about screening and documenting VFC eligibility, please call the Assessment Unit at (617) 983-4330.
Annual Vaccines for Children Compliance Training Webinar
The Vaccine Coordinator and Back-up Vaccine Coordinator at each pediatric provider receiving vaccines from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) Immunization Program are required to complete an annual VFC Compliance Training. This training requirement may be fulfilled in a number of ways, including by attending a regionally-based Immunization Update or other programs as indicated. A pre-recorded webinar, VFC Compliance Training Webinar, is also available. In order to receive a certificate of training, register with the 5-digit PIN used to order vaccines. Keep your training certificate on file—it is documentation that you have completed the annual training requirement.
Vaccine Storage and Handling Guidance
Proper vaccine storage and handling practices play a very important role in protecting individuals and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccine quality is the shared responsibility of everyone, from the time vaccine is manufactured until it is administered.
Both the Guidelines for Compliance and Refrigerator Requirements (above) outline the MDPH policies regarding storage and handling. For a general review of CDC guidance on storage and handling, see this CDC At-A-Glance reference guide. Providers should be aware that MDPH policies and requirements are different than CDC guidance in some ways, such as refrigerator and data logger requirements.
Temperature Log and Data Logger Information
MDPH requires using a digital data logger to monitor the temperature in all vaccine storage units. MDPH provides Fridge Tag 2L data loggers to all pediatric providers who receive state-supplied vaccine.
- The Fridge Tag 2L Data Logger Infographic (DOC) and the Quick Reference Guide-Fridge Tag 2 Data Logger (DOC) review the daily procedures for monitoring temperatures.
- The Vaccine Freezer Temperature Log (DOC) and Vaccine Refrigerator Temperature Log can be used to document temperatures manually.
- MDPH requires keeping track of any temperature excursions and providers can use this sample Temperature Troubleshooting Record (DOC) or their own form.
- To ensure the safety of the vaccines when in transport, MDPH requires the provider to follow the Fridge Transport Guideline (DOC) and Freezer Transport Guideline (DOC).
For Frequently Asked Questions about State-Supplied Vaccine, please visit here.