A new pilot project will expand the Vaccines for Children program into a place it has never been – retail pharmacies.
Three Walgreen’s pharmacies in Portland, Wilsonville and Hillsboro will be the first in the state that could lead to a greater expansion of the federally funded program in 2014.
“We want to improve access to immunizations,” said Mimi Luther, VFC manager with the Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Division. “Adolescent immunization rates need improvement to provide good individual and community protection.”
Pharmacies offer a number of benefits, including weekend and evening hours for folks who either do not have a medical home or have difficulty getting to the doctor during regular Monday through Friday hours, Luther said.
The three pharmacies are located at 9450 SW Wilsonville Rd in Wilsonville, 940 SE 39th Ave. in Portland and 6215 SE Tualatin Valley Hwy in Hillsboro, Luther said.
The VFC program helps eligible families by providing vaccines at no cost to enrolled public and private medical practices - who then can offer them at no charge to qualified patients (birth through age 18). There are currently about 600 clinics statewide who vaccinate about 52 percent of the state’s children.