Public Comments: January 27, 2021 ACIP Emergency Meeting

Good afternoon. I am Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers.  AIM members are the dedicated public health immunization directors, currently working to help coordinate the COVID vaccine roll out, fighting to maintain and increase other immunization rates, writing multiple grants on both the COVID response and routine immunization, and coordinating response to state legislation, including an array of bills threatening to compromise school requirements and add barriers to vaccination. It is a critical time.

I would like to thank the Committee and CDC for their dedication to thoroughly reviewing all predecisional data and post authorization safety data, building public trust in vaccines. The vaccine campaign and the use of second doses must be driven by science.

Our success in just 6 weeks of vaccinating is incredible. More than 23 million doses administered. More than 3 million people fully vaccinated. Tens of thousands of private providers enrolled in the public program and trained and educated on the vaccines. But in the context of people dying of the virus and people suffering anxiety and frustration searching for the vaccine, our accomplishments don’t feel incredible.

So we will continue to address our challenges and learn from them. Vaccination strategies are evolving as jurisdictions work to improve efficiency and reporting. Large scale, high throughput vaccination  clinics are more common. Jurisdictions are benefitting from public and private partnerships, collaboration with large companies such as Starbucks and local and chain pharmacies.

In our rush to improve efficiency, we cannot lose sight of equity. Program managers and our
stakeholder partners are driven to ensure this vaccine receives widespread acceptance, and protects everyone, in all of our communities.

State and local health agencies have received funding and resources to support COVID vaccination. We are grateful. But we also see these resources as a down payment on the needed larger investment in our future. IT modernization, public health workforce, routine adult vaccination, and continuing the critical work of building confidence in all vaccines in all communities.

The key to COVID vaccination success moving forward is increased supply, increased transparency and communication, and most importantly, increased collaboration. Federal, state and local public health must work together, not in competition, united by the same vision and goals.

Our country is in a COVID emergency, but our entire immunization infrastructure is at stake. Combating myths and dangerous legislative initiatives require all of us, but start with the scientific expertise of this Committee and the CDC. Thank you for your continued guidance and expertise.

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