In addition, the center has met eligibility requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be part of the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program.
According to the CDC and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, funds are allocated through their agencies in order to run the VFC program, which helps provide vaccines to children whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford them. The CDC distributes vaccines at no charge to clinics registered as VFC providers.
The program helps ensure all children have a better chance of getting their recommended vaccinations on schedule. Vaccines available through the VFC program are those recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and protect babies, young children and adolescents from 16 diseases.
Providers and staff at Mercy Clinic-Shell Knob hope that being able to provide vaccines to children will make access to health care easier.
"We hope it is one way that we can serve the community better," said Joni Millington, clinic practice manager. "We want to be able to provide the best possible care to our patients, and this helps us do just that."
More than 44,000 doctors nationwide offer free immunizations through the program. Children 18 years of age and younger can use VFC if they are uninsured, underinsured, Medicaid-eligible, of American Indian descent or an Alaskan native. If a child meets one of the requirements, vaccines will always be free of charge.
Mercy Clinic Family Medicine-Shell Knob, located at 22361 Oak Ridge Dr., is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 417-858-3731.
For more information about the VFC program, visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc....