The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is seeking to re-compete four (4) laboratories to provide a flexible shared services model that enhances capacity for vaccine preventable disease (VPD) testing to support CDC and jurisdictions. The selected VPD Reference Centers (VPD-RCs) will provide a variety of testing services related to VPDs including molecular detection, genotyping/serotyping, bacterial serology and potentially viral serology and next generation sequencing. As needs arise, these reference centers may also provide testing for additional pathogens that require similar testing services to meet public health needs. ​


Eligible laboratories include all public health laboratories with the following capabilities and facilities in place. Applicants may apply for: A) Option 1 Only, B) Options 1 and 2, C) Options 1, 2 and 3.

Possible Application CombinationsABC
Option 1   
Option 2  
Option 3


Specific expectations regarding methodologies used by the awardees are outlined in Appendix A: Expectations for VPD Reference Centers. All applicants are required to agree to the minimum requirements (as outlined in Appendix B) for the option(s) they select.

  1. All Options: Regardless of which option a laboratory applies to it must meet the following eligibility requirements (required by all applicants):
    1. Sufficient equipment, laboratory space and workforce capacity for the proposed work;
    2. Ability to electronically transmit data to CDC using HL7 messaging standards;
    3. Ability to report results back to submitters in a secure fashion (i.e., electronic portal or fax);
    4. Ability to meet published turn-around times;
    5. Flexibility to add and modify testing services, implement protocol changes and adhere to CDC-provided protocols; and
    6. Capability and capacity for next generation sequencing.
  2. Option 1 (Viral VPD-RC Services): VPD-RC to provide testing to submitting laboratories for measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella-zoster virus. (4 laboratories to be selected, required by all applicants)
    1. Capacity for real-time PCR using CDC-approved assays for the identification and genotyping of measles, mumps, rubella and varicella-zoster virus; and
  3. Option 2 (Bacterial VPD-RC Services): VPD-RC to provide testing to submitting laboratories for Bordetella pertussis, Neisseria meningitidis and Haemophilus influenzae (2 laboratories to be selected; application optional)
    1. Demonstrated competency and capacity for real-time PCR using CDC-approved assays for Bordetella pertussis, Neisseria meningitidis and Haemophilus influenzae; and
  4. Option 3 (Performance Evaluation Panels): Provide performance evaluation panel (PEP) program and/or validation panels for measles, mumps, rubella, varicella-zoster, bacterial meningitis and other pathogens as identified by APHL/CDC (1 laboratory to be selected; application optional)
    1. Established system for enrolling panel participants;
    2. Demonstrated cell culture capability;
    3. Established standard operating procedures (SOPs) and a quality management system for manufacturing, tracking and reporting performance evaluation panels;
    4. Established system for receiving panel recipients reported results; and
    5. Established system for tracking data from enrollees and summarizing performance results in aggregate.

Anticipated RFP Schedule

November 12, 2019      –             RFP Issued

November 21, 2019      –             Informational Teleconference (optional)               

December 6, 2019                    Letter of Intent Due to APHL (see below)

January 3, 2020                          RFP Responses Due

January 15, 2020            –             Proposal review completed

January 16-17, 2020      –              As needed, follow-up interviews/proposals due

January 22, 2020            –             Final review completed and awardees selected

March 1, 2020                –             Draft contracts submitted to APHL Legal Dept. for final internal review

Spring 2020                    –             Training activities, as needed

July 1, 2020                     –             First year project period start

APHL will communicate any modification to this anticipated schedule on APHL's procurement website ( and via an email blast to the public health laboratories (PHLs).

Response Submittal

Confirmation of Intent to Respond

APHL requires that prospective applicants submit a brief email statement to  indicating an intent to submit a proposal. APHL must receive this email by no later than 5:00 pm EST on December 6, 2019. To allow for appropriate review process planning, a letter of intent is required for consideration.

Final Response

APHL must receive complete responses by 5:00 pm EST on January 3, 2020. Please see Proposal-Required Submissions section for items that must be included in the completed proposal. Applicants may send proposals via email to

APHL will send an email acknowledging the receipt of your application; if you do not receive an acknowledgement within 48 hours, please email the RFP point of contact above to confirm


The Re-compete for Vaccine Preventable Diseases Reference Centers RFP provides detailed information in regards to this request, please read it in its entirety.

Questions and Answers

In the last paragraph of the Award section on page 6 of the document, the document refers to “other ELC funded jurisdictions within the RC’s jurisdictions”. To what does that refer, since this RFP is not ELC-related? Was that supposed to read “APHL-funded” or does it refer to APHL member labs?

Is there a guaranteed minimum dollar value for the per specimen testing services?

For several of the responses, we are putting the information in tables. However, these tables take up quite a bit of space and consequently, the narrative is shortened due to the page count constraints. Can we include tables as appendices and use the page count for narrative?

Will you please clarify whether questions 9 and 10, having to do with viral testing capabilities, are meant to encompass the same level of detail for all PCRs and genotyping performed in the laboratory, not just the VPD-relevant tests?

What will the viral-only questions (Option 1) be score out of? Also, when the RFP refers to “eight-double spaced pages” is that in reference to Appendix C?