Immunization Action Coalition and the Hepatitis B Coalition

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Issue Number 402            August 1, 2003

CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE

  1. If your workplace benefits from a health department immunization program, please contact your senators soon about the need for increased funding

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August 1, 2003
IF YOUR WORKPLACE BENEFITS FROM A HEALTH DEPARTMENT IMMUNIZATION PROGRAM, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SENATORS SOON ABOUT THE NEED FOR INCREASED FUNDING

If you work in one of the many public or private clinics across the country that receives free vaccine, technical assistance, print materials, or other help from your state/local health department or that  participates in a publicly funded immunization registry, please phone, fax, or meet with your U.S. senators during the Senate's August recess (August 4-September 2) and make a strong case for  increasing federal funding for immunization. Why? The Senate will be voting soon after Labor Day on immunization appropriations for fiscal year 2004, and you are in a position to influence the vote.


WHY YOUR ACTION IS NEEDED

The July issue of "On the Hill," the electronic newsletter of Every Child By Two (ECBT), succinctly explains the current federal legislative situation and the importance of increased federal dollars that will benefit immunization on every level--state, local, and in private practice. Following is an article, "Immunization Appropriations For Fiscal Year 2004" from the July issue, reprinted with the kind permission of the editorial staff of "On the Hill."

[IAC Editors' Note: When the July issue was published, it looked like the Senate would be voting on immunization funding before the August recess. Since that did not happen, the editors of "IAC EXPRESS" have inserted more current information into the following article; the new information is enclosed in brackets.]

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FROM "ON THE HILL," JULY 2003:

Immunization Appropriations For Fiscal Year 2004

On July 10 the House passed the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill that funds NIP. The House appropriated the same amount, $651,586,000, as last year. The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved its bill, which includes a slight increase to $655,686,000, but the Senate has not yet taken the bill to the floor. THERE IS STILL TIME TO IMPACT THE SENATE BILL. The Senate plans to vote on S. 1356 [soon after Labor Day]. At this writing ECBT encourages you to [meet with, phone, or fax your two senators in the very near future], briefly explaining why your state needs more money for its immunization program.

To access the entire July issue from the ECBT website, go to: http://www.ecbt.org/new0703.html

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SUGGESTED TOPICS FOR YOUR PHONE CALL, FAX, OR MEETING

The previous (May/June) issue of "On the Hill" presented suggestions you can use in speaking with your senators or their aides about immunization funding or in writing a letter to fax to them. It is reprinted with permission of the editorial staff of "On the Hill."

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FROM "ON THE HILL," MAY/JUNE 2003:

  • Vaccine shortages have ended. Therefore there will be a greater demand at clinics that administer 317-purchased vaccines. [IAC Editors' Note: For an explanation of the difference between 317 funding and Vaccines For Children (VFC) funding, please see "The 317 Program in Context," published in the July issue of "On the Hill" at http://www.ecbt.org/new0703.html Note that though the article says the 317 grant is used (1) for the state immunization program's operations and infrastructure and (2) for purchasing non-VFC vaccines for use at public health clinics, it is also used to purchase vaccines designated for special state-authorized programs.]
     
  •  This year flu vaccine was added to the Recommended Schedule for certain pediatric populations.
     
  • Clinics are asked to administer adult immunizations but are not funded to purchase vaccines for needy adults.
     
  • Immunization prevents illness which not only causes suffering but costs money.
     
  • The principal source of immunization registry funding is the 317 grant, and your registry is at a point (explain) where this money is desperately needed. Immunization registries, when fully developed, provide accurate immunization records at much less cost; prevent costly over-immunization; allow for easier disease surveillance; inventory vaccine supply; generate reminders to patients that immunizations are due; help providers monitor their own immunization rates and help areas monitor their population's rates.
     
  • Your state may be one of the 19 states that last year was unable to purchase pneumococcal conjugate vaccine for its clinics. Yet the vaccine is wildly popular because of the disease burden it relieves. It prevents 50 percent of all bacterial meningitis, 85 percent of bacterial blood infections and 7,000,000 cases of ear infections each year.

To access the entire May/June issue from the ECBT website, go to: http://www.ecbt.org/new0603.html

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HOW TO QUICKLY LOCATE YOUR SENATORS' TELEPHONE AND FAX NUMBERS

Using the Capitol Operator: You can call the United States Capitol Operator (available 24 hours) at (202) 225-3121. The operator will connect you with a senator's Washington office. If you don't know your senators' names, just tell the operator your state, and he or she will tell you who your senators are and connect you with one of them. The operator does not have senators' fax numbers; you can get the fax number from the person who answers your senator's phone.

Using the Web: Alternatively, you can get the office phone or fax number of any senator from the U.S. Senate web page by going to http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

If you know a senator's name, click on the "Choose a Senator" button, and scroll down to the name. You will be sent to the contact information for the senator's office in Washington, DC (address, phone number, and link to the senator's email or web form). If you need a fax number, click on the senator's name. You will be sent to the senator's home page; search the page for the fax number or click on a button labeled "contact me," "office information," or something similar.

If you don't know a senator's name, click the "Choose a State" button, and scroll down to your state. You will be sent to the contact information for both your senators' offices in Washington, DC  (addresses, phone numbers, and links to the senators' email or web forms). If you need a fax number, click on a senator's name. You will be sent to the senator's home page; search the page for the fax number or click on a button labeled "contact me," "office information," or something similar.

 

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 August 1, 2003