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Engel & House Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Increase Immunizations, Prevent Future Outbreaks

Engel & House Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Increase Immunizations, Prevent Future Outbreaks

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Eliot Engel, a top member on the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, has joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers in introducing the VACCINES Act, H.R. 2862, legislation that will increase immunization rates across the country and prevent future outbreaks of contagious, deadly diseases. Engel introduced the bill with Rep. Kim Schrier, M.D. (D-WA), Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY).

 

“The science is settled: vaccines save lives,” Engel said. “This is a non-partisan issue and I’m pleased to join my colleagues from both sides of the aisle in supporting this legislation, which will promote access, increase utilization and foster research of vaccines. This bill will help reverse the tide of recent disease outbreaks and I urge my colleagues to quickly adopt this measure for the sake of our public health.”

 

Immunizations protect not only the health of our own children, but the health of entire communities. Parents who have babies too young to be vaccinated or people who are too sick to be vaccinated count on high vaccination rates. While the vast majority of people have received the recommended immunizations for preventable diseases, a growing share of young children have not. The current measles epidemic has quickly spread in communities with clusters of unvaccinated people.

 

The Vaccine Awareness Campaign to Champion Immunization Nationally and Enhance Safety (VACCINES) Act will give the Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) resources it needs to understand what drives vaccine hesitancy and barriers to immunization. They will also be able to better track where there are changes in vaccine confidence or refusal rates. With this information, they will be able to predict where an outbreak might occur because of low immunization rates and target vaccine education campaigns to those areas before an outbreak occurs.