Are COVID-19 Vaccines Free for Children?

Latino and Black parents were less likely than White parents to say they felt their child was “very safe” from COVID-19 when they were at school, according to a recent study. 

How can you protect your children?  

Vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and your children against the worst outcomes of the virus – and COVID-19 vaccines are available and free for children! 

Let’s explore how “You’re Covered” against COVID-19! 

COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations for Children 

As of Sept. 12, 2023, CDC recommends that everyone ages 5 and older get one dose of an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect against serious illness from COVID-19. 

CDC recommends the 2023-2024 updated COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax, to protect against serious illness from COVID-19. 

Children ages 6 months to 4 years need multiple doses of COVID-19 vaccines to be up to date, including at least one dose of an updated COVID-19 vaccine. 

See the CDC’s full recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines. 

Children in Medicaid: Are COVID-19 Vaccines Covered Free of Cost? 


All COVID-19 vaccines are available to Medicaid-eligible children through age 19 with no out-of-pocket costs. 

Children enrolled in Medicaid receive all ACIP-recommended vaccines—including COVID-19 vaccines through the VFC program. According to provisions in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, once the government supply of COVID-19 vaccines run out, the cost of vaccines for Medicaid-eligible children will be borne by the VFC program. 

Children in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): Are COVID-19 Vaccines Covered Free of Cost? 


CHIP is required to cover COVID-19 vaccines for children through the age of 19 with zero cost-sharing, which means vaccines are free of cost for those receiving them. 

CHIP is a state-run program and therefore how vaccines are covered varies by state. That said, regardless of the type of CHIP coverage a state selects, all states must provide access to ACIP-recommended vaccines—including COVID-19 vaccines—free of cost to beneficiaries. 

Depending on the state’s plan type, these vaccines may be covered by CHIP or by VFC. 

Children with No insurance: Are COVID-19 Vaccines Covered Free of Cost? 


For children under the age of 19 who are uninsured or underinsured (e.g., if the child has health insurance but the plan doesn’t cover vaccines), as well as Alaska Native and American Indian children, the VFC Program provides ACIP recommended vaccines—including COVID-19 vaccines—free of cost. 

Uninsured and underinsured children can access COVID-19 vaccines free of cost by visiting a provider enrolled in the VFC program or through a public health clinic, a federally qualified health center (FQHC) or a rural health clinic.  

Children with Private Insurance: Are COVID-19 Vaccines Covered Free of Cost? 


For children insured through a private plan, including those with coverage through a parent or guardian’s employer-provided plan, ACIP recommended vaccines—including COVID-19 vaccines— can be accessed with no out-of-pocket costs at in-network providers.  

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), private insurance plans are required to cover all vaccines recommended for routine use by ACIP free of cost-sharing.  

This includes COVID-19 vaccines. Going forward, any COVID-19 vaccines recommended by ACIP—including updated vaccines—will be fully covered by private insurance plans within 15 days of ACIP recommendation. 

Children in Tricare: Are COVID-19 Vaccines Covered Free of Cost? 


COVID-19 vaccines are covered by TRICARE for all beneficiaries with no out-of-pocket costs.  

TRICARE covers all age-appropriate doses of vaccines— including COVID-19 vaccines—as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

Find additional vaccine information on the You’re Covered website in English and Spanish 

Still Undecided on COVID-19 Vaccination? 

To encourage Latinos to get vaccinated, Salud America! is sharing stories of real Latinos who are squashing misinformation and getting vaccinated. 

Take, for example, Maria Maldonado! 

When the vaccine became available for adults, Maldonado couldn’t wait to get one. 

“Because I trust science. They developed it fast, but they still took the protocols and the safety measures that they had to take,” Maldonado said. 

Once the vaccine was available for children, Maldonado got her 9-year-old son Jacob vaccinated. She hopes that other Latino parents will vaccinate their children and help protect the Latino community! 

“I feel a sense of relief. And I feel like it’s a little bit of a step forward in trying to help one another, and being a good citizen,” Maldonado said. 

Find COVID-19 vaccination locations near you in English and Spanish. 

Editor’s Note: Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio is a partner in the You’re Covered” campaign of the COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project, led by the Alliance for Aging Research, Healthy Women, and the National Caucus and Center on Black Aging. 


The post Are COVID-19 Vaccines Free for Children? appeared first on Salud America.

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Fuerza por la Salud