March 21, 2017
As members of the Adult Vaccine Access Coalition (AVAC), we hope you will ensure Americans of all ages have full access to immunizations that improve health and protect lives as you consider the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and other related health care reform legislation.
AVAC includes more than fifty organizational leaders in health and public health who are committed to overcoming the barriers to adult immunization. Immunization has demonstrated “effective prevention” in reducing rates of morbidity and mortality from a growing number of preventable conditions and has been proven to improve overall health in a cost-efficient manner. Decreased vaccination rates could lead to levels of immunity dropping below what are needed for herd immunity, which could, in turn, lead to outbreaks of disease.
Prevention and Public Health Fund
Discretionary spending caps enacted through the Budget Control Act have resulted in an increasing percentage of essential public health functions being financed through the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF). Today, PPHF dollars make up roughly half of the CDC Immunization Program budget, which funds state and local immunization infrastructure, preparedness, and response activities. These resources enable state and local health departments to carry out a variety of activities vital to the prevention, detection and mitigation of vaccine preventable conditions. Grants from the CDC Immunization Program 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 responding to the growing number of vaccine preventable disease outbreaks. A significant decline in funding for these immunization activities would have serious consequences for communities across the country at a time when disease outbreaks—from mumps in Seattle to measles in Texas—are on the rise. It is also essential for dealing with emerging threats such as Zika virus – for which the development of a new vaccine is under way. Congress must ensure stable funding for immunization activities is maintained.
Medicaid plays a key role in the prevention of disease by facilitating access to vaccines and community providers. For low-income, vulnerable populations, first dollar coverage of vaccines is integral to ensuring access to this cost-effective and potentially lifesaving service. AVAC urges the House of Representatives to protect access to important preventive services, such as immunization, for low-income populations and to ensure that the providers who care for them are adequately reimbursed. Only 36 Medicaid programs cover vaccines in accordance with Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations and just 17 of these programs offer first dollar coverage.i Moreover, inadequate provider reimbursement hinders beneficiary access to vaccines. Providers will not be incentivized to offer vaccines if Medicaid payment rates do not cover the upfront purchase and administration costs. States should provide first dollar coverage for ACIP-recommended vaccines to Medicaid beneficiaries and be encouraged to expand access to immunization, and to review provider immunization reimbursement policies.
AVAC and its member organizations hope that you prioritize support for local vaccine infrastructure and appropriate Medicaid coverage of vaccines. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact the AVAC managers at 202-540-1070 or email@example.com.
Alliance for Aging Research
American Association of Occupational Health Nurses
American College of Preventive Medicine
Every Child By Two/Vaccinate Your Family
Hep B United
Hepatitis B Foundation
Infectious Diseases Society of America
March of Dimes
National Association of Chain Drug Stores
National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable
Takeda Pharmaceuticals T
he Gerontological Society of America
Trust for America’s Health