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Immunization Action Coalition
IAC Express 2008
Issue number 721: April 2, 2008
 
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  1. Last chance--Thursday, April 3, is new deadline to ask your U.S. senators to sign the immunization appropriations letter
 
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 721: April 2, 2008
1.  Last chance--Thursday, April 3, is new deadline to ask your U.S. senators to sign the immunization appropriations letter

No government funds have been used to produce this article.

In the March 17 IAC Express Extra Edition, the Immunization Action Coalition, in conjunction with the 317 Coalition, asked readers to immediately call their U.S. senators about signing onto a letter in support of increased funding for the 317 Immunization Program for federal Fiscal Year 2009 (FY 2009). Previously, the deadline for senators to sign the letter was March 21. IT HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO APRIL 4. This means that you need to act immediately (by the close of business on Thursday, April 3). Please call your senators' offices to ask them to sign on.

Note: The 317 Coalition is a national network of organizations that advocate for increased federal funding for childhood, adolescent, and adult immunization programs.

As of April 1, 14 senators had responded to calls from their constituents and signed the letter. An even stronger show of support is needed. The 317 Coalition is made up of more than 150 member organizations http://www.317coalition.org/members. We are asking for many more senators to sign on. THE MORE SENATORS THAT SIGN ONTO THE LETTER, THE BETTER CHANCE THE 317 PROGRAM WILL RECEIVE INCREASED FUNDING IN THE FY 2009 BUDGET.

The text of the 317 Coalition's request is reprinted below. The deadline for your senators to sign on to the letter is Friday, April 4, so you must contact them before that date.


ACTION ALERT ON NATIONAL IMMUNIZATION FUNDING: We need your help!

Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) have sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to every member of the Senate asking them to sign on to a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee to support increased funding for the 317 Program. The "Dear Colleague" appropriations letter is available here: http://www.317coalition.org/documents/2009DearColleague_senate.pdf

Again, the more members of the Senate that sign on to this letter, the better chance the 317 Program will receive increased funding. Members of Congress are much more likely to sign on to these group letters if their constituents ask them to co-sign. [IAC Express editor's note: A similar effort will occur in the House of Representatives; we will send out a separate alert after receiving all the necessary information.]

ACTION NEEDED TO CONTACT MEMBERS OF THE SENATE

(1) Call your two senators and ask them to sign on to the "Dear Colleague" appropriations letter for increased immunization funding by contacting Senator Reed's or Senator Gordon Smith's office.

(2) You should not contact Senators Reed, Gordon Smith, Harkin, or Specter about this letter, since they are the senators sending and receiving the letter.

The following senators HAVE ALREADY signed on (so you don't need to call them unless you want to thank them). If your U.S. senators have not yet signed, please call them ASAP and ask them to sign on by Friday, April 4.

Sen. Jack Reed RI
Sen. Gordon Smith OR
Sen. Richard Durbin IL
Sen. Ron Wyden OR
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton NY
Sen. Bernie Sanders - VT
Sen. Chris Dodd CT
Sen. Carl Levin MI
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse RI
Sen. Joe Biden DE
Sen. Frank Lautenberg NJ
Sen. Charles Schumer NY
Sen. Barbara Boxer CA
Sen. Debbie Stabenow MI

Following is a list of senators who signed in support of increased immunization funding for last year (FY 2008) but who have not yet signed for FY 2009. If one of these is your senator, please be sure to call them, as they are LIKELY to sign for FY 2009 if asked to do so:

Sen. Joe Lieberman - CT
Sen. Jeff Bingaman - NM
Sen. Bob Menendez - NJ
Sen. Evan Bayh - IN
Sen. Maria Cantwell - WA
Sen. Edward Kennedy - MA
Sen. Jim Webb - VA
Sen. Russ Feingold WI

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

(4) Be sure they know the deadline for the senator to sign the letter is April 4.

(5) Feedback: If a Senate 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.

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 local district office. If you don't know who your senators are, go to http://www.senate.gov

(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 the senator to sign onto the "Dear Colleague" letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee on CDC immunization funding.

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

SENATE TALKING POINTS
  • I am contacting you to ask that the senator sign on to a "Dear Colleague" appropriations letter that is currently being circulated by Senators Reed and Smith asking for increased funding for the federal government's immunization program.
     
  • The letter is addressed to Chairman Harkin and Ranking Republican Specter 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.
     
  • 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.
     
  • Your office should have received the Dear Colleague letter from Senators Reed and Smith. It was sent out March 13th. The closing date for the senator to sign on to "Dear Colleague" appropriations letter is April 4, 2008. I urge you to ask your boss to sign this important letter to the Appropriations Committee.
     
  • I would be happy to fax or email a copy of the "Dear Colleague" 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_senate.pdf]

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


To access this information online, go to:
http://www.317coalition.org/action

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

If your organization would like to become a member of the 317 Coalition, contact Amy Souders, Cornerstone Government Affairs, at asouders@cgagroup.com

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