How strong are the country’s defenses against vaccine-preventable diseases and how well are U.S. citizens protected? What we can do to make our “ImmUnion” stronger and more resilient in the face of emerging health threats?
Every Child By Two (ECBT) has shared a special report on the State of Our Nation’s “ImmUnion” with members of congress to highlight the power of vaccines and suggest areas of action to fortify the health of our nation. While the medical community has the ability to protect Americans of all ages from deadly infectious diseases, public health workers continue to battle disease outbreaks across the nation that threaten the health and wellbeing of our citizens. Many Americans continue to lack access to life-saving vaccines that can protect themselves, their families and their communities from preventable diseases, while others fail to realize that vaccines are available to protect them from many different life-threatening diseases.
This comprehensive 2017 State of the ImmUnion Report highlights the successes of vaccines, the economic and societal savings incurred from vaccines, challenges facing the public health system, and key areas we must focus on to achieve optimal protection for all Americans.
ECBT is hopeful that this report will not only help congressional leaders learn more about the vaccination rates in their home states, but that it will also help public health advocates prioritizing the benefits of immunizations in the years ahead.
ECBT is committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure this message reaches every level of state and federal government – from the local public health department, to the President of the United States. But we need your help!
You are an important part of the equation. Join us in helping to make sure that immunizations remain a public health priority by taking these simple steps:
1. Support critical public health funding.
Having an adequate public health budget ensures that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the states and the territories are all prepared to:
- respond to existing and emerging vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks,
- conduct community outreach,
- educate providers and the public
- maintain immunization registries, and
- provide vaccine services to the community.
The report highlights the success of vaccines and discusses the economic and societal saving that occur as a result of a well-vaccinated population.
Unfortunately, federal vaccine appropriations have not met the levels requested in annual justification reports from the CDC, and state appropriations are nearly non-existent. This has resulted in a loss of personnel and the disbanding of several highly effective statewide coalitions which had supported immunization efforts for decades.
Additionally, if and when the Affordable Care Act is repealed, nearly $600 million in funds that currently support the CDC and state immunization activities may be eliminated. You can learn more about the critical funding issues here, and if you want to ensure legislators reallocate these funds, take a moment to add your name to Every Child By Two’s Vaccine Funding Support Statement here.
2. Support the science behind vaccines and the CDC’s recommended immunization schedule.
The public must be continually reassured that the timing of vaccines is carefully considered prior to CDC recommendation, and that vaccine safety is heavily monitored with pre and post licensure procedures. There are many disproven myths about the safety of vaccines and we need immunization champions who are well-informed and ready to respond to concerns with evidence-based responses. This report includes specific resources that can be helpful in addressing vaccine safety and policy concerns and even provides links to state specific immunization rates.
3. Join your local immunization coalition to see how you can work to advance the State of the ImmUnion in your local area.
Learn more about the vaccination rates in your state, and the impact vaccine-preventable diseases are having there, by accessing the resources cited in the State of the ImmUnion report, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics’ interactive map and the CDC’s VaxView. If you want to connect with other immunization advocates in your state, simply send an email to us at email@example.com and we can help connect you with your local immunization coalition.
4. Communicate directly with your state and federal legislators to encourage them to support a strong State of the ImmUnion.
Whether you call, email or Tweet your state and federal legislators, grab their attention by including any of the informative graphics from this special report. Simply include a link to the PDF report of the 2017 State of the ImmUnion along with some of the images we’ve compiled in our State of the ImmUnion social media toolkit and you’ll be helping to get the message out. (And don’t forget to tag @ShotofPrev in your tweets so we can help amplify your message.)
Every Child By Two’s Vaccinate Your Family campaign is an initiative aimed at raising awareness of the critical importance of vaccines across the lifespan. We are encouraged by the actions of so many devoted immunization champions all across the nation, and we hope you will join our efforts to ensure a strong “State of the ImmUnion”. Be sure to subscribe to our Shot of Prevention blog, like our Vaccinate Your Family Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter at @ShotofPrev to continue to receive updates on how you can join us as a voice for positive change!
Founded in 1991 by Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Former First Lady of Arkansas Betty Bumpers, Every Child By Two works to protect families and individuals from vaccine-preventable diseases by raising awareness of the critical need for timely immunizations for people of all ages, increasing the public’s understanding of the bene ts of vaccines, increasing con dence in the safety of vaccines, ensuring that all families have access to life-saving vaccines, and advocating for policies that support timely vaccination. Learn more at ecbt.org.
Written By Amy Pisani, Executive Director, Every Child By Two
The Invisible Threat film focuses on understanding the science of vaccinations and the misperceptions leading parents to delay or decline life-saving immunizations. This 40-minute independent documentary, produced by award-winning high school student filmmakers, has earned praise from more than 50 organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, and Every Child By Two, calling the documentary “powerful,” “fast-paced,” “well-balanced,” and “impeccably produced.”
On May 1st at 10am, Every Child By Two and the Immunization Coalition of Washington, DC will host a special event which will serve as the official nationwide launch of the Invisible Threat movement. Since it is critically important for our elected officials to get the strong message that the public expects sensible, science-driven legislation when it comes to vaccines, we’ve invited them as our special guests. Now we are counting on you (and your friends, family and colleagues) to call, or email, your members of Congress this week to further encourage their attendance at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center.
By flooding their offices with calls and emails between now and May 1st we can make it clear that pro-vaccine constituents have a voice, and that we stand firm against vaccine misinformation that is resulting in weakened public health policies, watered-down school vaccination requirements and the resurgence of deadly diseases!
Please take a moment to contact the key legislators on our invitation list to ask them to attend the Invisible Threat film screening and expert panel on May 1 at 10 a.m. Let them know that this event is important to you because deadly vaccine preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, meningitis, pertussis and influenza continue to threaten your community. Explain that this student-film aims to uncover the truth about the anti-vaccination groups who seek to dismantle the progress made to combat deadly diseases that used to take the lives of millions of people each year. Make it clear that as a constituent it is very important to you that your member attend this event so that they can be better prepared to help protect your community from ongoing disease outbreaks that threaten the lives of your family.
The May 1st congressional event will begin with an airing of the film followed by Q&A panel with leading immunization experts, including:
- Amy Pisani, Executive Director, Every Child By Two
- Dr. Paul Offit, Chief of Infectious Diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia/Co-inventor of the Rotavirus vaccine
- Dr. Melinda Wharton, Director, Immunization Services Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases/CDC
- Frankie Milley, Executive Director, Meningitis Angels
- Lisa Posard, Producer, Invisible Threat
RSVPs are required as seating is limited –please inquire with firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to attend.
For more information on ways that you can become involved with the Invisible Threat movement click here. You can also “like” the Invisible Threat Facebook page, follow them on Twitter @InvisThreat and join the filmmakers on an Invisible Threat Twitter chat, Wednesday, April 30th, from 7-8pm, ET. Follow #InvisibleThreat and help get the word out that the threat is out there and vaccines are our greatest defense.