Immunization Action Coalition and the Hepatitis B Coalition

IAC EXPRESS

Previous issues index

Home page

Issue Number 609            July 11, 2006

CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE

  1. Action needed ASAP. Call your U.S. senators by Thursday, July 13, about signing the current immunization appropriations letter

----------------------------------------------------------

Back to Top

---------------------------------------------------------------

(1 of 1)
July 11, 2006
ACTION NEEDED ASAP. CALL YOUR U.S. SENATORS BY THURSDAY, JULY 13, ABOUT SIGNING THE CURRENT IMMUNIZATION APPROPRIATIONS LETTER
No government funds have been used to produce this article.

IAC Express editor's note: IAC received the following Action Alert on national immunization funding from The 317 Coalition (http://www.317coalition.org), a network of more than 80 organizations committed to increasing federal discretionary funding for the National Immunization Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), commonly known as "section 317" of the Public Health Service Act.

The federal 317 funds are used to purchase and administer vaccines, usually at local health departments, and for immunization delivery, surveillance, and communication.

Funding of the 317 program has not kept pace with the need to cover the costs for the expanded vaccine recommendations of CDC, AAP, and AAFP over the past 6 years, including recommendations for PCV, influenza, meningococcal, hepatitis A, Tdap, and rotavirus vaccines.

Please read the following Action Alert, then call your senators and ask them to join with their Congressional colleagues by signing on to the letter addressed to Senators Arlen Specter and Tom Harkin, asking for more financial support for this vital 317 program. The final date for their signing on to the letter is July 14, so you must call them on or before Thursday, July 13!

*****************

Background:
Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Mike DeWine (R-OH), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) have sent a Dear Colleague letter to every member of the Senate asking them to sign on to a letter to Chairman Specter and Ranking Member Harkin of the Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee to support increased funding for the National Immunization Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—known as "section 317" of the Public Health Service Act. [To view copies of both the Dear Colleague letter and the letter to Senators Specter and Harkin, go to: http://www.immunize.org/senateletter.pdf]

THE MORE SENATORS THAT SIGN ON TO THE LETTER, THE BETTER CHANCE THE 317 PROGRAM WILL RECEIVE INCREASED FUNDING IN THE FY 2007 BUDGET. As of IAC Express production time, the following senators have signed on:

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI)
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA)
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT)
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)

Action Needed:
(1) Call your Senators and ask them to sign on to the letter to Senators Specter and Harkin by contacting Senator Reed's or Senator Smith's office.

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

(3) Be sure they know the deadline for Senators to sign their name to the letter is Friday, July 14. This means you have to contact your Senators no later than Thursday, July 13.

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

Contacting a Congressional Office:
(1) The U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 can connect you with your Senators. It is best to call the Washington Office, not the state office. If you don't know who your Senators are, you can go online to www.senate.gov and look it up by state. You should not contact Senators Smith, Reed, DeWine, Durbin, Specter, or Harkin about this letter, since they are the members sending or receiving the letter.

(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). Your purpose is to ask them to sign on to a letter to Senators Specter and Harkin on CDC immunization funding.

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


TALKING POINTS YOU CAN USE IN YOUR CONVERSATION WITH THE STAFFER

(1) I am contacting you to ask that the Senator sign on to a letter that is currently being circulated by Senators Smith and Reed.

(2) The letter is addressed to Chairman Specter and Ranking Member Harkin on the Labor HHS Appropriations Subcommittee, and asks for increased funding for the CDC immunization program so that more underinsured children and adults can receive recommended vaccinations.

(3) The letter asks that the Senate Labor HHS Appropriations bill include the minimum funding level for the program set at $614.5 million, which is a $95 million increase over the last year and the same amount the House appropriations committee recently approved. The President's budget request would cut the CDC immunization program in the appropriations bill by over $100 million. Currently the program receives about $519 million in federal appropriations.

(4) 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.

(5) The program has been relatively level funded for the past several years, yet additional new vaccines have been recommended to prevent severe diseases like invasive pneumococcal disease, meningitis, and rotavirus gastroenteritis and to boost immunity to pertussis. The funding is not keeping pace with the need. Ten states now have to decide which vaccines NOT to offer to underinsured children through this program. These include Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia, along with the cities of New York City and San Antonio.

(6) IAC Express readers: Add a sentence or two about your geographical location's need for additional CDC immunization funding.

(7) Your office should have received the Dear Colleague letter from Senators Smith and Reed. It was sent out Thursday, June 29. The closing date for your boss to agree to sign the letter addressed to Senators Specter and Harkin is Thursday, July 13. I urge you to ask your boss to sign this important letter.

(8) If you have questions or would like to sign the letter, please contact Matt Canedy with Senator Smith at (202) 224-5364 or Lisa German Foster with Senator Reed at (202) 224-4642.

(9) I would be happy to fax or email a copy of the Dear Colleague letter to your office if that would be helpful. [IAC Express readers will find the letter here: http://www.immunize.org/senateletter.pdf]

********************    

 

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 July 11, 2006