Public Comment by Vaccinate Your Family at ACIP Meeting
June 24, 2020 – My name is Amy Pisani. I am the Executive Director of Vaccinate Your Family. Our organization seeks to protect people of all ages from vaccine-preventable diseases. For nearly three decades our organization, along with our partners in public health have developed many successful strategies to ensure that every individual has access to lifesaving vaccines.
Vaccines are one of the most important tools we have to keep families and communities protected against highly contagious diseases. We at Vaccinate Your Family want to make certain that parents and individuals continue to feel confident that the vaccines given to protect lives remain both safe and effective.
After a vaccine is licensed and recommended for use in the U.S., there are four systems in place that work together to help scientists monitor the safety of vaccines and identify any rare side effects that may not have been found in clinical trials. We remain highly confident in the robust safety systems in place here in the U.S. including the Vaccine Safety Datalink, Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, the Post-Licensure Rapid Immunization Safety Monitoring System, and the Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment Project – all of which are described on our website.
Vaccinate Your Family has a policy expressly supporting the recommendations of the ACIP and the immunization schedules voted on by this well-informed body of independent experts. ACIP’s recommendations are the foundation upon which our nation’s successful vaccine program is based.
In order for the public to have confidence in the safety and effectiveness of future covid vaccines, it will be critical that decisions be driven by science and the decision making process must be transparent.
To that end, we urge that ACIP and FDA’s VRBPAC be involved in evaluations of the data of vaccine candidates and deciding whether and how these vaccines should be available to the public. ACIP sets the standard of care for vaccines and providers rely on the Committee to set the parameters for Clinical Care. Insurance coverage is based on the recommendations as well as VFC coverage. It is therefore imperative that any COVID vaccine recommendations for our nation are set forth by the ACIP – who can offer detailed recommendations for each population. Only this Committee has the history, expertise, and the trust of the healthcare community and the public.
We remain confident that this Committee will take action to monitor safety data on current and future vaccines, including those to prevent COVID-19 to ensure their safety as soon as they begin to be put to use.
In closing, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us what those in public health have suspected for many years — chronic underfunding and neglect of our public health infrastructure has left us vulnerable to infectious diseases. Unfortunately, vaccines are only effective if people receive them.
Yesterday, Vaccinate Your Family released a special State of the ImmUnion report on the issue of COVID vaccination preparedness. In this brief report, we examine the five steps Congress must take to strengthen our country’s vaccine infrastructure & ways to help constituents understand the value of vaccines. We urge members of the public and this committee to read our report by visiting the Vaccinate Your Family website.
Thank you for what you do today and every day.