Immunization Action Coalition and the Hepatitis B Coalition

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Issue Number 308            April 19, 2002

CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE

  1. Action needed now: Call your Congress member for signature on immunization appropriation letter

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April 19, 2002
ACTION NEEDED NOW: CALL YOUR CONGRESS MEMBER FOR SIGNATURE ON IMMUNIZATION APPROPRIATION LETTER

You can help ensure that the U.S. immunization system is adequately funded next year to further increase immunization rates across the country. A phone call or email message to your U.S.  Representative in Congress at this time could help create the momentum necessary in the weeks and months ahead.

In this IAC EXPRESS issue, we will explain why you should contact your Representative, what he or she needs to hear from you, and how you can quickly locate his or her phone number and other contact information. Part of our mission as a Coalition is to help make immunization advocacy a little easier for those who want to make a difference.

Recently, U.S. Representatives Roger F. Wicker (Miss.) and Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) asked their colleagues, in honor of National Infant Immunization Week (April 14-20), to sign a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services,  and Education. The Congressional letter requests a $65 million increase for the National Immunization Program within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 2003. (The text of this letter appears further down in this email issue for your review.)

Every year, the Appropriations Committee writes and passes legislation that determines how much funding our government will spend on various programs. The Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor,  Health and Human Services, and Education will draft a bill during the months of May and June that will determine the amount of funding that the National Immunization Program receives. Members of  Congress routinely write letters to the Appropriations Subcommittees urging them to fund certain priority programs at higher levels. After Subcommittee and Full Committee approval, the bill will then be sent to the House floor for a vote by all Members of Congress. Appropriations bills need to pass every year by October 1st, the start of the new fiscal year.

As of this writing, only 35 out of 435 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have agreed to sign the letter next week. The deadline is 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, for committing to sign.

Apparently, not all of our Representatives in Congress are aware of the great need (and great support) for improved immunization programs in this nation. Below is the list of the 35 Congress members who have committed to signing the appropriation letter next week. If your Representative is NOT on this list, your phone call or email message could convince him or her to "get on board."

You can simply ask your Representative to join his or her colleagues on the signature list. To join the list, he or she can contact Dayle Lewis in Rep. Hoyer's office at (202) 225-4131 by the end of the day on Tuesday, April 23. (If you have more time, you can explain to your Representative more specifically why you believe funding for immunization is so important.)

LIST OF SIGNERS SO FAR

Arkansas
- Snyder, Vic (2nd)

California
- Berman, Howard (26th)
- Eshoo, Anna (14th)
- Matsui, Robert (5th)
- Ose, Doug (3rd)
- Roybal-Allard, Lucille (33rd)
- Schiff, Adam (27th)
- Tauscher, Ellen (10th)
- Waxman, Henry (29th)

District of Columbia
- Norton, Eleanor Holmes (D.C.)

Florida
- Brown, Corrine (3rd)
- Wexler, Robert (19th)

Georgia
- Lewis, John (5th)

Maine
- Baldacci, John (2nd)

Maryland
- Hoyer, Steny H. (5th)

Michigan
- Dingell, John (16th)
- Rivers, Lynn (13th)

Mississippi
- Pickering, Chip (3rd)
- Wicker, Roger (1st)

New Jersey
- Pallone, Frank (6th)
- Pascrell, Bill (8th)
- Roukema, Marge (5th)

New York
- Crowley, Joseph (7th)
- Engel, Eliot (17th)
- McNulty, Michael R. (21st)
- Owens, Major (11th)
- Rangel, Charlie (15th)

Ohio
- Strickland, Ted (6th)

Pennsylvania
- Brady, Robert (1st)
- Fattah, Chaka (2nd)

Rhode Island
- Langevin, Jim (2nd)

Tennessee
- Ford, Harold (9th)

Texas
- Green, Gene (29th)

Washington
- Smith, Adam (9th)

Wisconsin
- Baldwin, Tammy (2nd)

The letter to Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Regula and Ranking Member Obey that your Representative can sign at your urging reads as follows:

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Dear Chairman Regula and Ranking Member Obey:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Immunization Program provides funding to States and local health departments for planning, developing and conducting childhood immunization  programs, as well as funding to support State and local health departments in purchasing safe and effective vaccines.

The Administration's FY 2003 Budget proposes level funding, $631 million, for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Immunization Program (NIP). While funding for NIP has increased over the last two years, consistent increases in federal investments need to be made in order to improve outcomes. Increased funding is needed to purchase vaccine and support the efforts of state and local health departments to immunize all children, adolescents, and at-risk adults. The states need an additional $45 million for domestic vaccine purchases and an additional $20 million for operations/infrastructure grants, which would bring the total funding for the NIP program to $696 million for FY2003.

The Institute of Medicine's (IOM) report Calling the Shots recommends additional federal funds to strengthen state immunization activities. The increased funding we are requesting brings us to the amount recommended in the IOM report for the operations/infrastructure grants, and will help prevent  the vaccine shortages that many states experienced last year.

Vaccines are among the 20th Century's most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. They not only prevent a vaccinated individual from developing a potentially serious disease, but they also help protect the entire community by reducing the spread of  infectious agents. While we can and should applaud our success, we also must strive to make even  greater progress in the 21st century. We need your help this year so that we can use the proven effective tools we have to advance the health of the
Nation.

Sincerely,

[Name of Representative]

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Following are four ways to contact (and identify) your Representative, from simplest to cheapest. Bear in mind that phone calls are more immediate than emails and may be preferable when time is of the  essence; emails can get delayed on a server for hours and/or remain unread in a recipient's inbox for days.

  1. Call the United States Capitol Operator (available 24 hours) at (202) 225-3121. The operator will  connect you with your Representative's Washington office. If you don't know your Representative's name, just tell the operator your zip code, and he or she will tell you who your Representative is and proceed to connect you.
      
  2. If you know your Representative's name, just go to the alphabetical Official Members Telephone Directory on the website of Clerk of the House for his or her Washington office phone number at: http://clerkweb.house.gov/107/mcapdir.php3
     
  3. Email your Representative using the Web-based "Write Your Representative Service," operated by  the U.S. House of Representatives. All you need to do is enter your state and zip code, click on "Contact My Representative," and type in your message. To use the "Write Your Representative Service," go to: http://www.house.gov/writerep/
      
  4. If you want to call your Representative's district office to avoid the long-distance charge, go to your Representative's website for the district phone number. All Representatives' websites can be accessed  via the U.S. House of Representatives "Locate Representatives' Web Sites Listed by Name" page (see link below). All you have to do is click on the name of your Representative. Most Representatives' sites contain phone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses, and/or direct message-sending features that guarantee a reply. If you don't know your Representative's name, just type in your zip code at the top of the home page.

To use the "Locate Representatives' Web Sites Listed by Name" page, go to: http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.html

 

Immunization Action Coalition1573 Selby AvenueSt. Paul MN 55104
E-mail: admin@immunize.org Web: http://www.immunize.org/
Tel: (651) 647-9009Fax: (651) 647-9131

This page was updated on  April 19, 2002