Immunization Managers Celebrate 2nd Anniversary of Historic COVID-19 Vaccine Campaign:
Call on Congress to Support Immunization Programs
[ROCKVILLE, MD] – December 14, 2022 – On Wednesday, December 14, the Association of Immunization Managers (AIM) and its 64 immunization program manager members are celebrating the 2nd anniversary of the historic COVID-19 vaccination campaign.
“Part of our goal today is to make the too-often invisible work of governmental public health agencies visible,” said Claire Hannan, Executive Director of AIM. “Every person who received COVID vaccine can remember how they felt the day they got their shot. Today we want to recognize and celebrate the public health heroes who worked nearly nonstop to get vaccines from the factories and into arms.”
The first COVID-19 vaccine (outside of a clinical trial) was administered to a nurse in New York City on December 14, 2020. Since then, public health has collaborated with clinicians, pharmacists, community groups, and other private sector partners in every community to administer over 655 million doses of vaccine. These efforts built upon the CDC’s decades-long experience delivering tens of millions of annual doses to children through the successful Vaccines for Children Program. To date, over 80 percent of the population has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. Never in American history have so many life-saving vaccines been delivered so quickly.
“It is important to think back to where we were in December 2020, with COVID deaths approaching close to 3,000 Americans each day. We mourn these losses,” said Dr. Kathy Kudish, Chair of the AIM Executive Committee. “Today people are largely back to work, back to school, and free to live their lives, largely because of our efforts to offer a safe and effective vaccine in every corner of the country.”
The results of this unprecedented vaccine campaign are extraordinary. The non-partisan Commonwealth Fund estimates that COVID vaccines have saved over 3.2 million lives, prevented 18.5 million hospitalizations, and avoided close to $1.15 trillion in health care costs. These savings were generated by approximately $40 billion in federal investments and should be considered one of the most effective bi-partisan successes ever.
“As we look to the future, AIM urges Congress to reinvest a small fraction of that $1.15 trillion in health care cost savings by taking steps to ensure we don’t repeat the historical cycle of neglect that followed nearly every previous public health emergency,” said Brent Ewig, AIM Chief Policy and Government Relations Officer. AIM recommends that Congress:
- Approves the administration’s supplemental request for critical emergency response funding in the final budget. This would keep the U.S. at the forefront of vaccine development and ensure that no one goes unprotected due to cost.
- Adopts the Senate-recommended $210 million increase in funding for the CDC Section 317 Immunization Program. These increases are needed to strengthen adult immunization programs, promote catch up on routine vaccination, and ensure preparedness for the next emergency.
- Holds hearings, debates legislation, and, ultimately, passes a bi-partisan version of the Vaccines for Adults program.
- Creates an independent, non-partisan commission (closely modeled after the 9/11 Commission) to assess the nation’s pandemic preparedness and response and provide recommendations to improve America’s readiness for future public health crises.
AIM and its members are proud of the work they have accomplished over the last two years to administer life-saving vaccines and look forward to continuing to improve vaccine access for all Americans. This could not have been done without the leadership of the CDC, Operation Warp Speed, and tens of thousands of providers and private sector partners across the nation.
About Association of Immunization Managers:
The Association of Immunization Managers (AIM), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit association, is dedicated to establishing a nation free of vaccine-preventable disease. AIM members are the leaders of state, local, and territorial immunization programs—directing the public health efforts designed to keep children and adults vaccinated and protected against disease. Since 1999, AIM has provided a national voice for immunization programs and a forum for program managers to learn from each other, confront challenges, and achieve success. Since its inception, AIM has gathered and shared information with its members on policy implementation, legislative issues, programmatic successes, and more. For more information on AIM, please visit www.immunizationmanagers.org.
Note: The inside story of the race to save lives and end a pandemic is featured in a new book entitled Vaccinating America, available now from the American Public Health Association Press. Brent Ewig, AIM’s Chief Policy and Government Relations Officer, is a co-author.