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Anchorage Lawmakers Urge Parnell Administration to Fully Fund Immunization Program in Upcoming Budget

ANCHORAGE – A group of Anchorage lawmakers today sent a letter to Governor Sean Parnell requesting that he fully fund the Alaska Immunization Program in his next proposed operating budget.

“Recent cuts to this program must be reversed,” said Senator Hollis French (D-Anchorage).  “Keeping Alaskans healthy by preventing serious diseases like hepatitis and diphtheria is worth the investment.”

The Alaska Immunization Program has provided children and adults across Alaska with outstanding access to cost effective, life saving vaccines for more than 30 years.  Faced with reduced federal funding, components of the program have been phased out in recent years.

Starting next year, adult vaccinations will no longer be provided through the program.

“In our fight to reduce the rising cost of medical care, disease prevention must come first,” said Senator Bettye Davis (D-Anchorage).  “Vaccines are a crucial component of disease prevention.”

For many Alaskans who need vaccines, low cost alternatives to the program don’t exist.  A state released bulletin (available here) noted that private health coverage and Medicare can fill some of the void left by program reductions.  Unfortunately, this option is not realistic for the 19% of Alaskans lacking health coverage.

The letter to Governor Sean Parnell is attached.  For more information about cuts to the Alaska Immunization Program, visit http://www.epi.alaska.gov/bulletins/docs/b2010_31.pdf.

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