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Congress Proposes Big Cuts to Prevention and Public Health Fund

February 6, 2018 1 comment
by Erica DeWald, Director of Advocacy, Every Child By Two

Congress is Proposing a $2.85B Cut to Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) over 10 Years

Congress is once again developing a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government from shutting down on Thursday, February 8. Every Child By Two (ECBT) is pleased to report that the proposed CR budget also includes critical funding for many public health programs including two years of funding for community health centers and the National Health Service Corps.

Unfortunately, it also includes a $2.85 billion cut over ten years to the nation’s Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF).

Here’s how it’s broken down (courtesy of Trust for America’s Health):

Fiscal Year Current Law Latest CR Net Cumulative Net
FY2018 $900M $900M 0 0
FY2019 $800M $900M +$100M +$100M
FY2020 $800M $1.0B +$200M +$300M
FY2021 $800M $1.0B +$200M +$500M
FY2022 $1.25B $1.1B -$150M +$350M
FY2023 $1.0B $1.1B +$100M +$450M
FY2024 $1.7B $1.1B -$600M -$150M
FY2025 $2.0B $1.1B -$900M -$1.05B
FY2026 $2.0B $1.1B -$900M -$1.95B
FY2027 $2.0B $1.1B -$900M -$2.85B
FY2028 $2.0B $0B -$2.0B -$4.85B

As we’ve shared in previous updates, the PPHF accounts for 53% of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Immunization Program budget. Any cut could mean serious reductions in our country’s and states’ abilities to:

  • Support the science that informs our national immunization policy.
  • Provide a safety net to uninsured, low-income adults by enabling vaccine purchases;
  • Monitor the safety of vaccines.
  • Educate healthcare providers.
  • Perform community outreach.
  • Conduct surveillance, laboratory testing and epidemiology in response to disease outbreaks.

With the U.S. continuously facing costly outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as influenza, measles and pertussis (also known as whooping cough), now is not the time to weaken the backbone of our nation’s public health infrastructure.

We are watching these budget developments closely.

While it’s somewhat reassuring that Congress is replacing the money they cut from the PPHF to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in this CR, no cut is acceptable. On the positive side, this delay in finalizing the budget does give us time to shore up support among Congressional Members for the critical services funded by the PPHF.

We will continue to send you updates on immunization funding and will be sure to let you know if we need to begin reaching out to our Members of Congress.

Thank you as always for your support of immunizations!



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Every Child By Two/Vaccinate Your Family has prepared our second annual State of the ImmUnion report to examine how strong our defenses truly are against vaccine-preventable diseases and what we can do as public health advocates and legislators to make our country stronger and more resilient in the face of emerging health threats.

We hope this report will offer you insights into areas of improvement to strengthen our protection against dangerous, and potentially deadly, vaccine-preventable diseases.

The Unvaccinated Should Pay for Outbreaks They Cause

This guest post has been written by Dr. Dorit Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of  the Law in San Francisco, CA.   Dr. Reiss serves on the Parent Advisory Board of Voices for Vaccines and contributes to various articles, blogs and law journals, utilizing her legal expertise to examine the social policies of immunization.      

DoritYouBreakItIn 2005, an unvaccinated teenager brought back an unwanted passenger from Romania: measles. In spite of not feeling her best, she attended a church picnic, spreading the infection to nineteen other people, who then spread the infection to others. In total, 34 people were infected, the majority of them also unvaccinated. The containment costs to the public purse were $62,216 (in 2014 US dollars).

Containment activities involved “ninety-nine public health officers and infection-control personnel working in 12 health departments and health care facilities. . . .”(p.449). These personnel reported 3,650 hours of work, 4,800 telephone calls, 5,500 miles driven, and 550 lab samples to contain the outbreak started by a single unvaccinated teen returning from travel.

It’s only money, you might think. Compared to the suffering of these 34 people, and the potential complications of measles, which include deafness, encephalitis and death, who cares if health officials worked a little harder and if agencies had to spend more money? After all, that’s their job, right?

But public budgets are limited, and even public employees have limited time. The time and money spent on the outbreak had to come from somewhere. Other important activities did not get done because officials were working to contain the infection.  It is fair to say, other services likely suffered.

Containing outbreaks is expensive. Sometimes, outbreaks just happen. But sometimes, they are caused because of an individual’s decision not to take a precaution. In this case, and in other outbreaks throughout the United States, the outbreak was caused specifically because of a decision not to vaccinate.

Vaccines save lives. Modern vaccines are incredibly safe and generally very effective. When someone chooses not to vaccinate themselves or their child, they are not just choosing to leave themselves at risk of disease; they are also choosing to increase the risks of an outbreak. Even if they themselves don’t travel to an area where the disease is rife, they are undermining herd immunity. Herd immunity exists when there are a high enough number of protected individuals to form a protective ring around those susceptible to the disease.  Herd immunity can prevent a disease from taking hold or spreading through the community. In other words, lower numbers of immune individuals means less protection against an outbreak for the entire community.

Why should the state have to pay for an outbreak due to a choice someone made that ignores the risk of disease, goes against scientific and medical consensus, and creates a risk for the community? Why should there be less money left for services to people with disabilities and other needs because someone decided not to protect themselves or their children?  Why is it acceptable that people choose for themselves and consequences to the community be damned? Read more…