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IAC Express 2008
Issue number 717: March 17, 2008
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  1. Please--do it now! Call your U.S. senators about signing the immunization appropriations letter by Friday, March 21
AAFP, American Academy of Family Physicians; AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics; ACIP, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices; AMA, American Medical Association; CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; FDA, Food and Drug Administration; IAC, Immunization Action Coalition; MMWR, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report; NCIRD, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases; NIVS, National Influenza Vaccine Summit; VIS, Vaccine Information Statement; VPD, vaccine-preventable disease; WHO, World Health Organization.
Issue 717: March 17, 2008
1.  Please--do it now! Call your U.S. senators about signing the immunization appropriations letter by Friday, March 21

No government funds have been used to produce this article.

The 317 Coalition is requesting that people who support the U.S. immunization program contact their U.S. senators and ask them to sign on to a letter in support of increased funding for the 317 Program for federal Fiscal Year 2009 (FY 2009). The 317 Coalition is a national network that advocates for increased funding for childhood, adolescent, and adult immunization programs.

The text of the coalition's request is reprinted below. The deadline for your senators to sign on to the letter is Friday, March 21, so you must contact them before that date.


Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) have sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to every member of the Senate asking them to sign on to a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee to support increased funding for the 317 Program. Again, the more members of the Senate that sign on to the letter, the better chance the 317 Program will receive increased funding. Members of Congress are much more likely to sign on to these group letters if their constituents ask them to co-sign. [IAC Express editor's note: A similar effort will occur in the House of Representatives; we will send out a separate alert after receiving all the necessary information.]

(1) Call your two senators and ask them to sign on to the attached letter by contacting Senator Reed's or Senator Gordon Smith's office.

(2) You should not contact Senators Reed, Gordon Smith, Harkin, or Specter about this letter, since they are the members sending and receiving the letter. Also, do not contact Senators Durbin, Dodd, Whitehouse, Clinton, Levin, or Wyden as they have already agreed to sign onto this year's letter.

(3) Let them know why increased funding is necessary for your organization in their city or state. Sample talking points are below.

(4) Be sure they know the deadline is March 21st.

(5) Feedback: If a Senate office indicates a willingness to sign the letter, let us know by emailing 317@cgagroup.com so that we can follow-up.

(6) Forward this alert to your members and other organizations with an interest in this program.

The following are the senators who signed on to the letter last year.

Sen. Jack Reed RI
Sen. Gordon Smith OR
Sen. Dick Durbin IL
Sen. Maria Cantwell - WA
Sen. Ron Wyden OR
Sen. Edward Kennedy MA
Sen. Joe Lieberman CT
Sen. Jim Webb - VA
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton NY
Sen. Bernie Sanders - VT
Sen. Jeff Bingaman NM
Sen. Russ Feingold - WI
Sen. Bob Menendez NJ
Sen. Chris Dodd CT
Sen. Evan Bayh IN
Sen. Carl Levin MI
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse RI

1) The U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 can connect you with your senator. It is best to call the Washington Office, not the local district office. If you don't know who your senator is, go to http://www.senate.gov

(2) Ask to speak with the staff person who handles the Health and Human Services Appropriations for the office (specifically the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention--CDC). Purpose is to ask them to sign on to the Dear Colleague letter on CDC immunization funding.

(3) When you reach the staffer, very briefly identify your professional affiliation and work related to immunization.

  • I am contacting you to ask that the senator sign on to a Dear Colleague letter that is currently being circulated by Senators Reed and Smith.
  • The letter is addressed to Chairman Harkin and Ranking Republican Specter on the Labor HHS Appropriations Subcommittee, and asks for an increase in funding for the CDC immunization program so that more underinsured children and adults can receive recommended vaccinations.
  • The letter asks that the 317 Program be funded at $802.5 million in fiscal year 2009, which is an increase of $275 million over the President's Request and over the FY 2008 level. Currently the program receives about $527 million in federal appropriations.
  • These funds are awarded to states as grants to purchase recommended childhood and adult vaccines, and provide support for the infrastructure needed to deliver the vaccinations.
  • Your office should have received the Dear Colleague letter from Senators Reed and Smith. It was sent out March 13th. The closing date for the Dear Colleague is March 21, 2008. I urge you to ask your boss to sign this important letter to the Appropriations Committee.
  • I would be happy to fax or email a copy of the Dear Colleague letter if that would be helpful. [IAC Express editor's note: For a copy of the letter, go to:

When emailing, be sure to add a sentence or two about local need for additional CDC immunization funding.

To access this information online, go to:

To visit the 317 Coalition website, go to:

For legislative updates and other resources, go to:

If your organization would like to become a member of the 317 Coalition, contact Amy Souders, Cornerstone Government Affairs, at asouders@cgagroup.com

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