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CHILDHOOD IMMUNIZATION PROGRAM REAUTHORIZATION LEGISLATION

Executive Summary

CHILDHOOD IMMUNIZATION PROGRAM REAUTHORIZATION LEGISLATION passed House and Senate committees during the week ending May 18. HR 4238, sponsored by Rep. Waxman (D-Calif.), was reported out of the Energy & Commerce Committee May 16; S 2629, sponsored by Sen. Kennedy (D-Mass.), moved through the Labor & Human Resources Committee the following day. Introduced two days before the markup, Kennedy's bill would authorize $200 mil. for the immunization program in fiscal 1991 and "such sums as may be necessary through 1995." The authorization level "is sufficient to double the dosage of the measles vaccine...and for target outreach efforts to high-risk populations that are not receiving the first dose of the vaccine," Kennedy said in a statement on the bill. He noted that the funding level "would also support greater screening for hepatitis B and the development of new vaccines for chicken pox and other diseases." Kennedy's bill would also authorize $5 mil. to maintain a six-month vaccine stockpile and $34 mil. for the National Vaccine Program, which provides interagency coordination of the government's immunization program through the office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at HHS. The bill passed the committee with one amendment. Introduced by Sen. Dodd (D-Conn.), the amendment aims to help establish and support "projects for the development, demonstration and evaluation of methods for the screening, referral and immunization of children up to 24 months of age against vaccine-preventable diseases and for the dissemination concerning such methods to health professions." Waxman's bill, introduced March 8, would authorize $185 mil. for the vaccination program in 1991 and sums "as necessary" in the subsequent four years. The bill authorizes the appropriation of$5 mil. for 1991 to maintain a six-month supply of vaccines. Like Kennedy's bill, the total includes increases for measles and hepatitis B vaccines. The Bush Administration budget request for 1991 provides $131 mil. for the program. Legislation to extend the tuberculosis prevention program was also passed by both committees. Both bills, Waxman's HR 4273 and Kennedy's S 2630, authorize $36 mil. for the program in fiscal 1991. Kennedy's bill passed without amendment. Waxman's was amended by a provision sponsored by Rep. Bruce (D-Ill.) that directs HHS to set up an advisory council to provide "advice and recommendations regarding the elimination of tuberculosis to the [HHS] secretary, the assistant secretary for health and the director of the Centers for Disease Control."
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