July 11, 2006
CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE
- Action needed ASAP. Call your U.S. senators by Thursday,
July 13, about signing the current immunization appropriations letter
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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,
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!
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
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)
(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
email@example.com so that they can
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
(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
(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
(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