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AdvocacyJune 26, 2014

Thank YOU and Congress for Making Global Vaccines a Priority

Calls to action from across the country have been heard loud and clear: Congress has put forward strong plans to fund global immunization programs – and giving kids around the globe a shot at life.

Over the past two weeks, the Appropriations Committees in the House of Representatives and the Senate put finishing touches on the State and Foreign Operations bill, which provides funding for most of the global immunization programs that the U.S. supports.

I’m happy to report that both the House and the Senate committees put forth bills that fully fund many of the important immunization programs run by the United Nations and by national governments, and even provide increases to key Shot@Life partners like the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), ensuring that children in developing countries have access to vaccines against diseases like polio, measles, rotavirus and pneumonia.

I want to thank the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and Subcommittees for prioritizing these life-saving programs as part of the Fiscal Year 2015 spending for State and Foreign Operations. Later this year, Congress as a whole will come to a final agreement on next year’s budget, and the Committees’ plans provide a great roadmap.

I also want to thank Shot@Life supporters for raising their voices and showing members of Congress that we care about these issues. That support played a huge role in the decisions to fund these programs.

Here are the details:

  • Both the House and Senate recommend GAVI, a Shot@Life partner, be funded at $200 million—$25 million more than last year.
  • Both the House and the Senate recommend polio eradication efforts through USAID receive a total of $59 million — a sustained amount from last year. It’s also worth noting that this is only one part of the funding for polio eradication. The other portion will be included in the Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill, the details of which are expected sometime in the next few months.
  • Both the House and Senate continue to support the life-saving work of Shot@Life partner UNICEF. It is recommended that UNICEF maintain the funding level it received last year, keeping funding at $132 million.

This is great news, but we aren’t finished quite yet! The House and Senate have to come together and iron out the differences between their bills. Until then, I want to thank our supporters and Congress for making global vaccines a priority. There were some very tough decisions to make during this budget process, and Shot@Life is incredibly grateful that Congress has thus far committed to continuing U.S. support for global immunization programs.

Here’s to giving every child a shot at life!

Devi R. Thomas