AVAC Welcomes 118th Congress and Celebrates Vaccine Access Champions in Congress

Washington, D.C. (March 29, 2023) — The Adult Vaccine Access Coalition (AVAC) applauds the Congressional leaders who have championed vaccine access for millions of American adults nationwide. Eight awardees were recognized at AVAC’s 118th Congress Welcome Reception held in Rayburn House Office Building for their ongoing support of common-sense policies that will raise adult immunization rates, reduce health care costs and save lives.

Honored for their commitment to vaccine access with the Adult Vaccine Champion Award for 2023 were Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH), Larry Bucshon (R-IN), Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY); and Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Shelley Capito (R-WV), Tim Scott (R-SC) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). 

Recommended immunizations can save lives, yet every year thousands of American adults die or become sick from vaccine-preventable diseases. By reducing financial barriers to vaccine access, these leaders have helped the United States make strides toward health equity.

“We are incredibly grateful to our vaccine champions on both sides of the aisle for their steadfast commitment to protecting millions of Americans from vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Phyllis Arthur, co-chair of AVAC and senior vice president for Infectious Diseases at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO).

“The things that we’ve done in this space over the 20th century and into the 21st century have saved or improved the quality of life of millions and millions of people, if not billions of people around the world,” said Representative Bucshon, M.D.

Vaccine access is critical to the health of our nation—and policies championed by AVAC’s bipartisan leaders helped to close longstanding gaps in vaccination coverage under Medicare and Medicaid, ensuring that every American who wishes to be vaccinated against preventable disease has the opportunity to do so.

“[Vaccination is] one of the most important preventative health matters that we can consider,” said Representative Kuster. “It was up to us to make sure that we could get vaccines to people, put together the infrastructure for distribution and then make sure that there wasn’t a cost barrier.”

“The leadership of our Congressional champions has been critical to improving vaccine access, increasing immunization rates nationwide, and ensuring Americans can receive all recommended vaccines at no cost,” said Patricia D’Antonio, RPh, MS, MBA, BCGP, co-chair of AVAC and vice president of Policy and Professional Affairs for The Gerontological Society of America (GSA). “We look forward to working together on a bipartisan basis to continue improving health outcomes for patients and advancing health equity on a national scale.”