Contact Your Senator TODAY to Prevent Devastating Cuts to Immunization Programs

Dear Colleagues

Thank you for continued support of immunization policy. The Senate is now considering two crucial pieces of legislation: the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget. Both could impact vaccine programs, limiting access for millions of Americans. It is critical that we help Senators understand the impact of their legislation on public and individual health before they finalize the bill language.

Please call AND email your Senators TODAY with this critical message:

Call your Senators to say:

I am a constituent and am calling to urge Senator X to ensure CDC’s immunization program continues to be fully funded, both through direct appropriations and through preservation of the Prevention and Public Health Fund.

It is also critical to preserve first dollar coverage in private health plans and Medicaid. Coverage for vaccines is critical to our nation’s health and integral to accessing cost-saving and potentially life-saving vaccines.

Please support public health funding and oppose any aspects of the American Health Care Act which would slash these critical investments.

And then follow-up with an email to provide additional details:

I am a constituent and I am writing to express my concern about public health funding. While vaccines may not be specifically targeted, the American Health Care Act and the president’s budget will have consequences for immunization efforts.

The President’s proposed budget would cut vaccination programs by $82 million. Should Congress eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), this would further compound the problem, eliminating another $324.4 million the CDC utilizes to combat vaccine-preventable diseases. The CDC uses this money to: purchase vaccines and manage supply; monitor vaccine safety; educate; conduct disease surveillances and respond to outbreaks; and support funding for state, territory, and city immunization programs.

Pair this loss of funding with the American Health Care Act’s proposed cuts to Medicaid and we could face a public health crisis.

We are already facing costly outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases: the country is dealing with ongoing outbreaks of measles in California, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Washington.  In Minnesota over 7,500 people were exposed and 70 cases were confirmed in the past two months. Since 2014, over 1,000 cases of measles were detected here in the U.S. The CDC estimates that it costs approximately $140,000 to contain each individual case of measles ($143.5 million since 2014). And every single measles case requires follow up.

Measles is the “canary in the coalmine.” Because the disease is so highly contagious, when measles immunization rates begin to slip below 95 percent, we begin to see outbreaks. It is often the first sign of other serious vaccine-preventable outbreaks.

Pertussis, better known as whooping cough, and mumps outbreaks are on the rise.  And, several universities in the U.S. experienced outbreaks of meningococcal serogroup B disease, a devastating illness that causes lifelong debilitation or death.

Gaps in vaccine infrastructure also leave us susceptible to emerging threats such as the Zika virus, which can cause devastating birth defects when a woman contracts the disease while pregnant. It is essential that we not only develop more and better vaccines, but also maintain a sound infrastructure and capacity to deliver and track those vaccines within the healthcare system.

It has been reported that the U.S. spends nearly $27 billion annually treating just four vaccine-preventable diseases that afflict adults over 50 years of age: influenza; pertussis; pneumococcal disease; and shingles. The majority of these avoidable costs are borne by federal health insurance programs.

Vaccinating, however, is cost saving. For each dollar invested in the childhood immunization program, the U.S. saves over $3 in direct medical costs and $10 ten dollars in societal costs. Government programs play a key role in the success of immunization programs. For example, over the past 20 years the Vaccines for Children program has prevented 322 million illnesses, 732,000 deaths, and nearly $1.4 trillion in societal costs.

The solution is in your hands:

  • Ensure CDC’s immunization program continues to be fully funded, both through direct appropriations and through preservation of the PPHF.
  • Continue first dollar coverage in private health plans and Medicaid. Coverage for vaccines is critical to our nation’s health and integral to accessing cost-saving and potentially life-saving vaccines.

To find your Senators, please use Who Is My Representative? Thank you again for your support of immunizations!

 

____________________________________________________

 

 Immunization Rates for California’s Kindergarteners Take a Jump

Data released April 12, 2017 from the California Department of Public Health  shows that passage of SB 277 by Senators Richard Pan and Ben Allen in 2015 has had a positive impact on immunization rates for California Kindergarteners. Immunization rates have improved among all specific vaccines and overall vaccination rates went up from 92.8% in the 2015-2016 school year, to 95.6% – an increase of 2.8 %! Conditional entrants (those students who needed to catch up on some vaccinations after school entry) also decreased from 4.4% to 1.9%, a decrease of 2.5 % in one year.

As was expected by implementation of the new law, personal belief exemptions (PBEs) decreased from 2.4% to 0.6%.  Medical exemptions increased from 0.2% to 0.5%, with the largest increase seen among students in private schools. Additionally, a new category which quantifies the number of students that are without immunization and attending private home school situations or independent study program, shows the number of students lacking immunizations represent approximately 28,000 children.

This great news about improved immunization rates is the result of a tremendous public health effort, starting with the California Department of Public Health Immunization Branch, local health departments and our wonderful school nurses and school administrators who helped to support the implementation of these new school immunization requirements.

The legislative efforts of  Senator Richard Pan, MD and Senator Ben Allen, their hard-working staff, and the advocacy of  the ‘I ‘heart’ Immunity’ Coalition consisting of CIC, Vaccinate California, the California Medical Association, Health Officers Association of California, American Academy of Pediatrics, California, California School Nurses Organization, the California PTA and many many more helped to raise awareness and bring the bill to signature by Governor Brown in June 2015 and full implementation in 2016.

The report shows great improvement, however it also shows that in some areas of California there is more work to do. Nine of the 58 counties still have vaccination rates below 90%, and 14% of the counties have fewer than 95% of Kindergartners reporting as having two doses of MMR – a threshold of immunity necessary to prevent the transmission of measles.  All of this information sustains and encourages us to keep up the great work we are doing in California and beyond. Congratulations!

For full report, go to

Annual Kindergarten Immunization Assessment – 2016-2017

2016-17 Kindergarten Data 

CDPH Press Release 

For additional information about immunization rates and questions about school rules and implementation of the law, go to ShotsforSchool.org

____________________________________________________

Shots for School Website is the Go-To Resource for School Nurses and Healthcare Providers

The California Immunization Coalition is committed to making sure that parents, educators and health care professionals have the information they need to answer their own questions, or distribute to their patients or students.  New rules for school and childcare required immunizations will go into effect in 2016.  While most families will not be affected by these rules, we want to make sure you have resources to understand the school immunization laws and suggest you visit sites such as the California Department of Public Health Immunization Branch, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Immunization Action Coalition to learn about the vaccines that help protect you and your family from vaccine preventable diseases.

Did you catch our CIC Education Hour on October 28? The new law created by SB 277 (Pan/Allen) which removes the personal belief exemption (PBE) from school vaccination requirements goes into effect on January 1, 2016. CIC wants to help providers and parents understand the new rules around vaccine documentation and this first presentation included an overview of the law, an explanation of medical exemptions as well as resources for parents and providers to learn more about how the process will work.

A follow up broadcast was held on December 9, 2015 for school health personnel.  Information can be found under Resources > CIC Education Hour > Archives.

____________________________________________________

Thank you for Attending the 2017 CIC Summit

Thank you to the over 200 attendees, speakers and organizers who helped make our 2017 CIC Summit a success!   Held on April 3 -4, 2017 at the Mission Inn in Riverside, California, the Coalition was pleased to welcome speakers including Sarah Royce, MD, CDPH Immunization Branch Chief,  Mark Sawyer, MD, Elena Conis, PhD, Associate Professor at UC Berkeley and author of “Vaccine Nation,” Brian Mittman, PhD and Peter Szilagyi, MD, MPH. Along with a special screening of the film Hilleman: A Perilous Quest to Save the World’s Children and a follow up presentation and discussion time with Don Mitchell, director of Hilleman.

Please complete the Summit evaluation sent to your email account and give us your feedback for the next Summit.  You can visit the CIC Summit website to view the Summit agenda and presentations that will be posted by April 27th.  Watch this site and our Twitter and Facebook pages for announcements about our next education event and our 2018 Summit.

Thank you for attending!

 

 

The California Immunization Coalition (CIC) has developed this website as a resource for its members and the community. It is not intended as a source of medical advice. The best source of immunization information is your health care provider. The information on this website should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your physician, who will recommend treatment based on your individual facts and circumstances.
 

Comments are closed.