CDC REPORT TO CONGRESS
The annual Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees provides a cost estimate for how much funding it would take to fully implement and support the 317 Program. While this report is sent to both chamber’s Appropriation Committees, the document does not take other competing priorities that the CDC director, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and the president must consider when developing the agency’s budget request. The fiscal year 2022 (FY22) report focuses on the implications of COVID-19 and the program’s evolving role. It emphasizes the program’s willingness to adapt to meet new challenges and immunization priorities throughout its 58-year history.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the U.S. economy, left millions unemployed due to the closure of many businesses, and added to the number of uninsured individuals. The report states that “healthcare use significantly changed as well, as patients were hesitant to visit providers for routine preventative health services including immunization.” Vaccines alone cannot protect a population; the 317 program is the backbone for country’s immunization infrastructure. Program funds help to develop safe and effective vaccines, purchase doses, monitor coverage, target specific populations, respond to outbreaks, and help providers and the public make informed decisions. Following the unprecedented public health crisis, the 317 program is critical to ensure vaccines are given to the right people at the right time, while providing a safety net for financially vulnerable and uninsured adults and supporting the nation’s ability to respond to outbreaks.
Immunization infrastructure accounts for a significant portion of 317 funding, and the CDC made clear this function will remain prominent after the end of the pandemic.
CDC’s priorities for the 317 Program in FY 2022 include:
Preserving core public health immunization infrastructure at the local, state, and federal levels;
Maintaining an adequate amount of vaccine purchase to provide a vaccination safety net for uninsured adults, and for response to VPD outbreaks as well as other vaccine urgent needs;
Making strategic investments to enhance the immunization infrastructure, evidence base, and improve efficiency.