AAFP Co-sponsors Vaccine Briefing for Congressional Staff

April 01, 2015 12:15 pm News Staff

The AAFP is co-sponsoring a briefing April 8 in Washington on the vaccine recommendation process. Scheduled from 2:30-3:30 p.m. EDT in the 2168 Rayburn House Office Building (Gold Room), "Vaccine Schedules: The Inside Story" is intended to help congressional health policy staff understand how vaccine schedules are developed, who is involved in vaccine science decision-making, what scientific literature is reviewed during the decision-making process, and when and how often existing immunization recommendations are reviewed.

[Patients vaccination schedule book with a vaccine in a syringe with a needle lying on the yellow booklet]

A panel of experts will explain the recommendation process, including the inner workings of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and its ongoing review of the annual vaccine schedules for children, teens and adults, as well as the types and sources of information used by the ACIP and other key decision-makers.

Scheduled panelists are Anne Schuchat, M.D., director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases and an assistant surgeon general; Renee Jenkins, M.D., chair of the department of pediatrics and child health at Howard University and a recent ACIP member; and Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, M.D., American College of Physicians liaison to the ACIP. Jack Ebeler, co-chair of the March of Dimes Public Policy Advisory Council, will moderate the panel.

Other co-sponsors of the event are the March of Dimes, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The congressional sponsors are Reps. Charles Dent, R-Pa., and Louise Slaughter, R-N.Y.

Immunization policies have been on legislators' collective radar in response to recent outbreaks of measles and other diseases, as well as the increase in patients and families who are vaccine-hesitant.

Two congressional health policy committees have already sponsored hearings this year to examine current federal immunization priorities, including seasonal influenza preparedness(energycommerce.house.gov) and the re-emergence of vaccine-preventable diseases.(www.help.senate.gov) Lawmakers also introduced a resolution, "Vaccines Save Lives," (H.Res. 117) that reaffirms the federal government's role in this vital public health issue. The AAFP supports the bill.(3 page PDF)

The AAFP, along with other medical and public health organizations, will continue to educate policymakers about the importance of reducing the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases and the critical role physicians play in engaging patients about immunizations.

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