January 17, 2017
Dear Chairman Alexander, Chairman Hatch, Ranking Member Murray, and Ranking Member Wyden: Vaccines are one of the greatest success stories in public health and are among the most costeffective ways to prevent disease. Indeed, we know that for each dollar invested in the U.S. childhood immunization program, there are over ten dollars of societal savings and three dollars in direct medical savings. Moreover, it is estimated that the benefits which will be accrued from the Vaccines For Children Program for children born over the first twenty years of the program will prevent 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, 732,000 deaths, and nearly $1.4 trillion in societal costs.
While immunization rates remain high for children, pockets of undervaccinated communities remain at risk of deadly vaccine-preventable diseases. Immunization rates for adolescents and adults remain woefully low, leaving them vulnerable to diseases including several deadly cancers, and to serving as vectors for the transmission of deadly diseases, such as pertussis to young children. It has been reported that the U.S. spends nearly $27 billion annually treating four vaccine-preventable diseases that afflict adults over 50 years of age: influenza, pertussis, pneumococcal disease and shingles
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