Senator Lamar Alexander
Chair, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee
Senator Patty Murray
Ranking Member, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee
Representative Greg Walden
Chair, House Energy & Commerce Committee
Representative Frank Pallone Jr.
Ranking Member, House Energy & Commerce Committee
Representative Michael Burgess
Chair, Subcommittee on Health
Representative Gene Green
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Health
Dear Senators Alexander and Murray and Representatives Walden, Pallone Jr., Burgess and Green:
The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) commends your bipartisan, bicameral support for the many proven benefits of immunization against infectious diseases, as outlined in your joint letter sent February 21 to your congressional colleagues. We greatly appreciate your clear, well reasoned statement on the importance of vaccines in saving lives, especially those of infants and children. You have correctly argued in your appeal to the Congress that the use of vaccines available against multiple diseases is solidly based on scientific evidence. To curtail funding or otherwise undermine the nation’s successful vaccination programs would be a huge disservice to all Americans and would literally endanger many lives, while incurring significant healthcare costs.
We share your concerns about the reemergence of vaccine preventable diseases that has been linked to certain beliefs not based on scientific facts. The trend in some U.S. communities to forgo vaccination, particularly of infants and children, contributes to the unfortunate rise in measles, mumps, and whooping cough. Outbreaks of once vanquished diseases not only imperil the individuals infected, but the local populations and economies involved.
There is no doubt that immunization saves millions of lives in this country and elsewhere each year. The ongoing scientific inquiry into the safety of vaccines already in use and the discovery of new vaccines is the foundation of U.S. immunization strategies. With more than 47,000 members, the ASM represents a breadth of expertise that recognizes the value of vaccines and the dire consequences of dismissing the scientific evidence supporting immunization.
The ASM has always advocated the universal use of approved vaccines to prevent illness and death caused by infectious diseases. We are eager to assist any members of Congress in promoting the continued use of highly effective immunization regimens recommended by the nation’s public health agencies.
Susan Sharp, Ph.D., President, American Society for Microbiology
Stefano Bertuzzi, Ph.D., M.P.H., CEO, American Society for Microbiology
Ronald M. Atlas, Ph.D., Chair, ASM Public and Scientific Affairs Board
cc: The Honorable Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services