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AdvocacyMay 8, 2017

Final FY17 Budget Bill Includes Funding Increases for Lifesaving Global Immunization Programs

Great news!  After months of negotiations, Congress just approved an FY17 budget that funds the government through September and includes robust support for the global immunization programs we all care so deeply about.  The spending package recognizes the broad bipartisan support in Congress for life-saving investments in foreign affairs and United Nations agencies like UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO).

In particular, the bill includes:

  • $275 million for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which is enough to immunize 8.7 million children and save 155,000 lives from diseases like pneumonia and diarrheal disease caused by rotavirus;
  • A total of $233 million for CDC and USAID to continue work to eradicate polio, which has decreased by 99.9% over the past 30 years and now remains in only three countries in the world;
  • $50 million for CDC work to eliminate measles and rubella, which remain leading causes of child death and disability worldwide, even though it costs less than $2 to prevent both diseases with a vaccine;
  • $137.5 million for UNICEF, which in 2015 alone procured enough vaccines to reach 45 percent of the world’s children under age five.

Thank you to the thousands of incredible Shot@Life supporters who worked tirelessly for many months to meet with, call, and write their legislators.  Congress heard the message loud and clear that the U.S. must maintain its leadership in the world, and investments in global health and immunization programs are a life-saving, cost-effective investment of taxpayer dollars that also keep Americans safe from infectious diseases.  Please take a moment to thank your legislators by sending them a quick message here.

Although we are right to take a moment to celebrate this victory, Congress is already debating how to fund the government next year.  The White House has once again targeted global health programs and the entire foreign affairs budget for drastic, short-sighted cuts that will increase child deaths and weaken our national security.  Now is the time to intensity our advocacy, urge Congress to reject these cuts, and ensure that every child has a shot at a healthy life!

Brian Massa