Public Comment: July 22, 2021 ACIP Emergency Meeting

I am Claire Hannan, Executive Director of the Association of Immunization Managers. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Committee for its steadfast commitment to evidence, data and science. I would also like to recognize and thank the public health workers across the nation and throughout the U.S. territories and Pacific Island nations for their dedication in containing the pandemic and vaccinating the adult population.

Today’s meeting of the ACIP is just one of 15 special meetings, in addition to its 3 regularly scheduled meetings, conducted in public since the pandemic began. “During these committee meetings, members review findings and discuss vaccine research and scientific data.” The recommendations of the Committee’s medical and public health experts guide the use of COVID-19 vaccines and ensure a vigilant, watchful eye on all potential side effects. To the Committee, and the expert staff and leadership of the CDC, thank you.

At the start of this pandemic, our public health workforce was significantly less than previous years. According to an analysis by the deBeaumont Foundation, the number of public health workers went from 236k at the start of the H1N1 pandemic in 2009 to 206k workers at the start of COVID-19 pandemic.

Turnover in public health is high. Of the 64 federally-funded state, territorial, and large city immunization programs, 32 have experienced turnover with their program manager since 2019.

The burnout and exhaustion in public health is real. To all the public health workers, especially the immunization program managers, thank you.

Since the beginning of pandemic, immunization program managers have been working long days, nights, and weekends to address the many challenges of vaccinating the nation. The success and impact of this vaccine campaign are nothing short of miraculous.

  • 67.9% of adults with at least one shot
  • 160.4 million people fully vaccinated
  • 336 million doses administered
  • Epidemiologists at Yale University estimate that New York City’s vaccination campaign
    has prevented 250,000 COVID-19 cases, 44,000 hospitalizations and 8,300 deaths from COVID-19

Between January 1, 2021 and June 15, 2021, 98% of hospitalizations and 98.8% of deaths from COVID-19 infection were in those who were not fully vaccinated.

Thank you to the Committee and to all those involved in these efforts. The nation is forever grateful.

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