The Alaska Vaccine Assessment Program (AVAP) facilitates universal purchase of vaccines for all ages. For more than 30 years, Alaska had a universal vaccine program — distributing recommended childhood and adult vaccines to all Alaskans. However, a dramatic reduction in federal funds for vaccine purchasing, was scheduled to occur starting in 2011, reducing these funds from $4.3 million in 2010 to $200,000 in 2014. In 2012, legislation was passed to provide $4.5 million in state general funds each year for three years to temporarily reinstate vaccine funds to enable state supplied vaccine distribution to continue.
To ensure statewide access to vaccines, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) began working together on a long-term solution to vaccine funding. In June 2014, legislation was enacted launching a new statewide funding partnership. This funding partnership was authorized in Alaska statute 18.09.200 and established a vaccine assessment account that will enable DHSS to purchase all pediatric and most adult vaccines at costs below those of private purchase alternatives.
DHSS contracted with KidsVax.org® for administrative support services, including collection of payments from health plans, insurance companies, and other payers, and the development and maintenance of this website. The State of Alaska uses these funds to purchase vaccines for children and adults at favorable rates and distribute them to providers at no charge. This funding partnership has been branded as the Alaska Vaccine Assessment Program or AVAP.
Why Universal Vaccine Purchase?
There are several reasons that the State of Alaska pushed to safeguard universal purchase of childhood vaccines and select adult vaccines:
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Lower costs: States that serve as the single purchaser of childhood and adult vaccines receive more favorable pricing. Depending on the vaccine, these prices range from an estimated 15 percent to 60 percent lower than private purchase alternatives. These savings lower health care costs and, ultimately, help hold down rising premium costs for individuals and benefit costs for employers.
Provider benefits: Health care providers can administer childhood and adult vaccines to their patients while avoiding the financial and staffing burdens required to separate private and public vaccine stock.
Immunization benefits: Next to clean drinking water and good nutrition, vaccines have saved more lives than any other public health intervention in modern history. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that vaccinating every child born in the U.S. from birth to adolescence would prevent 14 million infections, spare 33,000 lives, and save $10 billion in medical costs. (Source: “How Safe Are Vaccines?” by Alice Park, Time, May 21, 2008.)
For more information about the role and progress of AVAP, please email us at info@AKvaccine.org.