July 18, 2017

The Honorable Tom Cole
House Labor, Health and Human Services,
Education and Related Agencies
2358B Rayburn Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Rosa DeLauro
Ranking Member
House Labor, Health and Human Services,
Education and Related Agencies
1016 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro,

As members of the Adult Vaccine Access Coalition (AVAC), we write to express our concern in proposed funding cuts to the immunization-related activities at the Department of Health and Human Services and urge you to reinstate full funding for immunization-related programs as part of the fiscal year (FY) 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill.

Immunizations are a sound investment because they are a highly cost-effective form of preventive medicine that help save lives by protecting the health and wellbeing of individuals and families in communities nationwide. Vaccines not only help protect the immunized person but they can also help protect those around them who may not be able to be immunized because they are too young to be vaccinated themselves or suffer from a health condition that prevents them from being immunized. Cuts to funding could lead to gaps in vaccine coverage, which will leave our nation vulnerable to the resurgence of devastating disease outbreaks and also susceptible to emerging threats, for which the development of new vaccines is underway.

➢ National Immunization Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)We ask the Committee to reject the proposed $50 million cut to the Immunization Program and maintain level funding. A decline in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) immunization program (Section 317) would have serious consequences for communities across the country at a time when disease outbreaks—from measles in Minnesota to Zika in Miami—are on the rise. The immunization program provides funding to state and local health departments to carry out a variety of activities vital to the prevention, detection and mitigation of vaccine-preventable conditions. These essential grants are utilized not only for the purchase of vaccines for children, adolescents and adults, but also to support a number of other important activities, including: surveillance, safety and effectiveness studies, education and outreach, implementation of evidence-based community interventions to increase immunization coverage among underserved and high-risk populations, and responding to the growing number of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks. Over the past several years, immunization infrastructure financing has grown more complex, with around 50 percent of FY17 immunization funding coming from the Prevention and Public Health Fund. The combination of proposed cuts in the FY18 LHHS bill, coupled with the proposed elimination of the Prevention and Public Health Fund as part of the larger health reform debate, will lead to larger, more costly outbreaks.

➢ National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO). We urge the Committee to support $6.4m in funding for the National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO) at HHS. These dollars, consistent with FY2017, will help ensure robust implementation of the National Adult Immunization Plan (NAIP). This comprehensive plan lays out overarching goals along with a series of tangible objectives aimed at raising adult immunization rates in line with Healthy People 2020 targets. The NAIP also contains specific milestones intended to monitor progress on improving adult immunization.

Now more than ever, we must recognize the vital role of immunizations in helping to prevent, and mitigate disease outbreaks, and fully fund immunization programs. We look forward to working with your office as the FY2018 appropriations process moves forward. For further information, please contact the AVAC managers at 202-540-1070 or info@adultvaccinesnow.org.

Alliance for Aging Research
American College of Preventive Medicine
American Immunization Registry Association
American Public Health Association
Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
Association of Immunization Managers
Association of Occupational Health Nurses
Biotechnology Innovation Organization
Every Child By Two
Families Fighting Flu
Hep B United
Hepatitis B Foundation
Immunization Action Coalition
Immunization Coalition of Washington, DC
Infectious Diseases Society of America
March of Dimes
National Association of City and County Health Officials
National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
National Hispanic Medical Association
National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable
Scientific Technologies Corporation
Takeda Vaccines
The Gerontological Society of America
Trust for America’s Health