The 317 Coalition advocates for increasing federal appropriations to ensure that immunization infrastructure at the national, state, and local levels is adequately funded and provides a safety net for underserved populations so they can receive recommended vaccinations.
The Coalition educates Members of Congress about the needs of the CDC’s 317 Immunization Program, which plays a central role in achieving national immunization coverage targets and reducing disease by meeting the needs of priority populations, such as underinsured children and uninsured adults. The program conducts research that informs the nation’s immunization policy, outbreak detection and response, vaccine safety and effectiveness oversight, outreach campaigns, and provider education.
The Coalition focuses solely on increasing the annual CDC appropriation for 317 funding. As such, it works to implement the policies of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and other relevant policymaking bodies. It does not make or attempt to influence immunization policy.
We believe that at least $1.13 billion for FY22 is necessary to properly support our nation with the workforce, equipment, data, outreach capabilities, and vaccine doses vital to protect the population. Most recently, the CDC estimated that over $1.4 billion is needed for the 317 program to fully preserve core public health infrastructure at the local, state, and federal levels. The program received just over $613 million for FY21. We must act urgently to close the gap identified by our nation’s health experts.
While the ACA has made great strides toward expanding health coverage to millions of Americans since 2010, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed crucial gaps in our nation’s immunization infrastructure resulting from years of stagnant funding in the 317 Program. The pandemic highlighted the essential role such infrastructure plays in keeping our communities safe and healthy. Neither the ACA nor the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program sufficiently support the public health functions required to ensure safe and effective national immunization policies. As such, the 317 program works synergistically with ACA provisions and the VFC program to sustain high vaccination levels and low incidence of disease. The need to establish and maintain a robust public health immunization infrastructure has never been more critical. Increased funding is crucial to bolster improvements made through emergency supplemental bills during the COVID-19 pandemic, restore routine immunizations, and assure future preparedness.
The Coalition also aims to create a congressional directive for the CDC to submit to Congress an annual Professional Judgment Budget on the funding level necessary to fully implement the 317 program. We must rely on the advice of career immunization experts with firsthand knowledge of pressing public health challenges to make adequate investments in the health and protection of our communities.