Home
|
About IAC
|
Contact
|
A-Z Index
|
Donate
|
Shop
|
SUBSCRIBE
Immunization Action Coalition
IAC Express 2008
Issue number 723: April 9, 2008
 
Contents of this Issue
Select a title to jump to the article.
  1. Act now--ask your U.S. representative to sign the "Dear Colleague" immunization appropriations letter
  2. The 317 Coalition has 156 member organizations. If your organization isn't a member, please consider joining today!
 
Abbreviations
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 723: April 9, 2008
1.  Act now--ask your U.S. representative to sign the "Dear Colleague" immunization appropriations letter

No government funds have been used to produce this article.

The Immunization Action Coalition, in conjunction with the 317 Coalition, previously sent readers of IAC Express notification of two deadlines for contacting U.S. senators regarding funding for the 2009 immunization program (IAC Express Extra Editions of March 17 and April 2). We had not written about contacting U.S. representatives because the initial deadline had already passed by the time IAC received the information. However, the House sign-on date has been extended to April 11, so you still have a chance to educate your U.S. representative about the need for increased immunization funding. As members of the House must sign on to this appropriations letter by the end of the week, interested constituents must call or email before Friday.

Note: The 317 Coalition is a national network of more than 150 organizations (http://www.317coalition.org/members) that advocate for increased federal funding for childhood, adolescent, and adult immunization programs.

BACKGROUND

Representatives Leonard Boswell (D-IA) and John Shimkus (R-IL) have sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to every member of the House of Representatives asking them to sign on to a letter to the House Appropriations Committee to support increased funding for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at CDC--known as "section 317" of the Public Health Service Act. The more members of the House of Representatives that sign on to the letter, the better chance the 317 Program will receive increased funding in the FY 2009 budget.

ACTION NEEDED TO CONTACT MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

(1) Call your representative in the House and ask them to sign on to the "Dear Colleague" appropriations letter for increased immunization funding by contacting Rep. Boswell's or Rep. Shimkus' office.

(2) You should not contact Representatives Boswell, Shimkus, Obey or Walsh about this letter, since they are the members sending and receiving the letter. Also, you should not contact the following representatives (unless you want to thank them), as they have already attached their names to the letter.

Leonard Boswell (IA)
John Shimkus (IL)
Tom Allen (ME)
Howard Berman (CA)
Earl Blumenauer (OR)
Stephen Cohen (TN)
Gene Green (TX)
Raul Grijalva (AZ)
Ruben Hinojosa (TX)
Mazie Hirono (HI)
Jim McDermott (WA)
Earl Pomeroy (ND)
Nick Rahall (WV)
Bart Stupak (MI)
Henry Waxman (CA)
David Wu (OR)

(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 for adding their signature is Friday, April 11th.

(5) Feedback: If a representative's office indicates a willingness to sign the letter, let the 317 Coalition staff know by emailing 317@cgagroup.com so that they can follow up.

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

(7) The following are the representatives who have signed on to the letter in previous years. If your member is listed below and has not signed on this year, it is especially important that you reach out to his or her office. See #2 above for a complete list of who has signed on this year so far.

John Dingell (MI)
Steny Hoyer (MD)
Bob Etheridge (NC)
Dan Lipinski (IL)
Dennis Moore (KS)
Steve Kagen (WI)
Rick Larsen (WA)
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD)
Lois Capps (CA)
Chris Van Hollen (MD)
Frank Pallone (NJ)
Eliot Engel (NY)
Donald Payne (NJ)
David Price (NC)
James Langevin (RI)
Charles Gonzalez (TX)
Mike McIntyre (NC)
Michael Michaud (ME)
Jim Marshall (GA)
Tim Murphy (PA)
Brad Miller (NC)
Neil Abercrombie (HI)

CONTACTING A CONGRESSIONAL OFFICE

(1) The U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 can connect you with your representative. It is best to call the Washington Office, not the local district office. If you don't know who your representative is, you can go online to http://www.house.gov and look it up by entering your zip code.

(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). The purpose is to ask them to sign on to the "Dear Colleague" appropriations letter on CDC immunization funding.

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

HOUSE TALKING POINTS

  • I am contacting you to ask that the congressman/congresswoman sign on to a "Dear Colleague" immunization appropriations letter that is currently being circulated by Representatives Boswell and Shimkus.
     
  • The letter is addressed to Chairman Obey and Ranking Republican Walsh 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.
     
  • A recent CDC report to Congress indicates that close to $1.2 billion is required to fully fund the needs of the program to serve children, adolescents, and adults.
     
  • The 317 funds are awarded to states as grants to purchase recommended childhood and adult vaccines, and to provide support for the infrastructure needed to deliver the vaccinations.
     
  • Your office should have received the "Dear Colleague" appropriations letter from Representatives Boswell and Shimkus. It was sent out March 13th. The closing date for the representative to sign on to "Dear Colleague" appropriations letter is April 11, 2008. I urge you to ask your boss to sign this important letter to the Appropriations Committee.
     
  • Please contact April Elliott (Boswell) at 5-3806 or april.elliott@mail.house.gov or Chris Sarley (Shimkus) at 5-5271 or chris.sarley@mail.house.gov with questions or to add your name to the letter.
     
  • I would be happy to fax or email a copy of the "Dear Colleague" appropriations sign-on letter if that would be helpful. [IAC Express editor's note: For a copy of the letter, go to: http://www.317coalition.org/documents/2009DearColleague_House.pdf ]

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

Note: Calling your representative is generally more effective than emailing; however, emailing is better than doing nothing! The 317 Coalition's website includes a form to help compose and send email messages to members of the House of Representatives. To access it, click here.

To visit the 317 Coalition website, go to:
http://www.317coalition.org

For legislative updates and other resources, go to:
http://www.317coalition.org/learnmore

Back to top
   
2 The 317 Coalition has 156 member organizations. If your organization isn't a member, please consider joining today!

No government funds have been used to produce this article.

The following letter is an invitation for your organization (professional associations, healthcare provider organizations, health departments, and any organization or medical practice interested in increasing childhood, adolescent and adult immunization coverage) to become a member of The 317 Coalition. The letter was written by 317 Coalition steering committee members Dr. Paul Offit, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; Dr. Walter Orenstein, Emory University; Ms. Amy Pisani, Every Child by Two; and Dr. Deborah Wexler, Immunization Action Coalition.
 

March 31, 2008

Dear Colleague:

As Congress begins work on developing next year's federal budget, we are writing to invite your organization to join "The 317 Coalition" which advocates for increased funding for childhood, adolescent, and adult immunization programs. The mission of the 317 Coalition is to focus the advocacy support of allied organizations with the common goal of increasing the federal discretionary funding for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, commonly known as "Section 317" of the Public Health Service Act. We are seeking to expand our robust partnership with additional national, state, and local organizations from all 50 states and territories, including professional associations, healthcare provider organizations, health departments, and any organization or medical practice interested in increasing childhood, adolescent, and adult immunization coverage. There is no cost to join the Coalition.

This Coalition is solely focused on advocating for increased federal immunization grants to states and cities. It focuses on helping implement the policies of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and other relevant policy making bodies. It will in no way make or attempt to influence immunization recommendations.

As a member of the Coalition you will

  • Be sent information regarding the federal budget for the CDC immunization program and updates on the congressional deliberations and recommendations for appropriations,
  • Be asked to simply sign on to letters of support to Congress for increased funding along with other organizations across the country,
  • Be sent action alerts asking you to contact your congressional representatives during the appropriate time in the congressional cycle if you so wish and are able, and
  • Be invited to participate in periodic conference calls to share important information about critical needs of federal, state, and local immunization programs.

As you may know, the federally funded 317 program provides vaccination services for children and teens who do not qualify for the Vaccines for Children program (VFC), as well as adults. The 317 funds are used to purchase and administer vaccines, usually at public health departments, and for immunization delivery services, surveillance, communication, and education.

Since its inception in 2006, the 317 Coalition has grown to a total of 156 member organizations (46 national and 110 local), representing 45 states. During the last two appropriations cycles, the Coalition advocated for a significant increase for the 317 program. Over the last two years, the House Appropriations Committee recommended increasing the 317 program by $186 million. Unfortunately, this increase was dramatically scaled back in the final legislation. In fiscal year 2007, the Coalition was successful in getting a $32 million increase for the 317 program, which was a remarkable achievement in that only a handful of HHS programs received a funding increase that year. For the current year (2008), the Coalition was successful in attaining a $15.5 million increase for the 317 and immunization program and $19.5 million to increase the demand for seasonal flu vaccine for a total increase of $35 million in the 2008 omnibus appropriations bill.

At the recommendation of the Coalition, Congress required CDC to develop a report that indicates the level of funding needed to fully support the childhood, adolescent, and adult needs of the 317 program. The report was sent to Congress in March 2008 and it indicates that close to $1.2 billion is needed to fully fund this important program, compared to the current appropriation of $526 million. The Coalition's advocacy recommendation is that Congress should provide $802 million in FY 2009, and appropriate the additional needed funding in future years. We hope your organization will add your voice to ours in this multi-year campaign to seek adequate funding for this critical immunization program.

We encourage you to visit the Coalition's website at http://www.317Coalition.org. If your agency, organization, or medical practice would like to join the Coalition or request additional information, please contact Michael Kenny, Cornerstone Government Affairs at (202) 448-9500 or email at mjkenny@cgagroup.com. Attached is a list of our current member organizations [Editor's note: this list can be viewed online at http://www.317coalition.org/members].

Thank you for your dedication to the health and well being of our nation's people. We hope that you will not hesitate to join our coalition to ensure access to vaccines for all those served under the 317 immunization program.

Sincerely,

Paul Offit, M.D.
Director, Vaccine Education Center
Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Walt Orenstein, M.D.
Associate Director
Emory Vaccine Center
Emory University

Amy Pisani, M.S.
Executive Director
Every Child By Two

Deborah L. Wexler, M.D.
Executive Director
Immunization Action Coalition

To visit the 317 Coalition website, go to:
http://www.317coalition.org

Back to top
   
Immunization Action Coalition  •  Saint Paul, MN
tel 651-647-9009  •  fax 651-647-9131
 
This website is supported in part by a cooperative agreement from the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (Grant No. 5U38IP000290) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA. The website content is the sole responsibility of IAC and does not necessarily represent the official views of CDC.