Sequester Effects on Vaccine Programs and Public Health

FEMA/Bill Koplitz Thanks to Joshua Prasad, MPH student at Drexel University School of Public Health, for putting together the information from the White House in an easy-to-read way.

Most of you are probably following the news about the potential sequester that may begin on March 1. If US lawmakers can’t come to an agreement to avert the sequester, many federal agencies and programs will need to make across the board budget cuts of 10%. 

One area in which the cuts may be felt is seasonal influenza response and planning. Representative Henry Waxman summarized CDC Director Tom Friedan’s description of the effects of sequestration on CDC’s influenza immunization activities in the following way:

…Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told us that if the sequester cuts were put into effect, CDC “would have less capacity to detect, respond, and develop better [flu prevention] tools in the future.” He also told us that, if the cuts were implemented, “there would be no alternative but to reduce funding” that CDC provides to state and local governments for essential flu prevention services. Dr. Frieden said that CDC has already implemented substantial administrative savings and that “further reductions will unfortunately translate into reductions to support that [CDC provides] for… disease prevention and control, as well as for core activities.” From Democrats’ Committee on Education and Commerce

The White House released its own list of impacts of the sequester. Below are potential cuts to vaccine and public health-related programs in HHS Region III (where we are located). Remember that any programs that are funded in advance will likely continue as normal until the next funding cycle, and that the numbers below assume a worst-case scenario—meaning a situation in which no deals are brokered to soften the effects of the cuts. Additionally, according to this Politico piece, numbers may be estimates of estimates of guesses, depending on the situation. 

Delaware 

Vaccines for Children: In Delaware around 380 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $26,000.

Public Health: Delaware will lose approximately $86,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, Delaware will lose about $330,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 400 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the Delaware Division of Public Health will lose about $70,000 resulting in around 1,800 fewer HIV tests. 

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sequester-factsheets/Delaware.pdf

Washington, DC 

Vaccines for Children: In the District of Columbia around 370 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $25,000.

Public Health: The District of Columbia will lose approximately $57,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, the District of Columbia will lose about $330,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 500 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the District of Columbia Department of Health will lose about $324,000 resulting in around 8,100 fewer HIV tests.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sequester-factsheets/district-of-columbia.pdf

Maryland 

Vaccines for Children: In Maryland around 2,050 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $140,000.

Public Health: Maryland will lose approximately $551,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, Maryland will lose about $1.6 million in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 2,500 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And Maryland health departments will lose about $595,000 resulting in around 14,900 fewer HIV tests.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sequester-factsheets/Maryland.pdf

Pennsylvania 

Vaccines for Children: In Pennsylvania around 5,280 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $361,000.

Public Health: Pennsylvania will lose approximately $1,213,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, Pennsylvania will lose about $2,930,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 3,500 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And Pennsylvania’s health departments will lose about $639,000 resulting in around16,000 fewer HIV tests.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sequester-factsheets/Pennsylvania.pdf

Virginia

Vaccines for Children: In Virginia around 3,530 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases  such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $241,000.

Public Health: Virginia will lose approximately $764,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, Virginia will lose about $2,140,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 1,700 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. The Virginia State Department of Health will lose about $337,000 resulting in around 8,400 fewer HIV tests.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sequester-factsheets/Virginia.pdf

West Virginia

Vaccines for Children: In West Virginia around 760 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $52,000.

Public Health: West Virginia will lose approximately $177,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, West Virginia will lose about $430,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 600 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the West Virginia State Department Health and Human Services will lose about $62,000 resulting in around 1,600 fewer HIV tests.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sequester-factsheets/West-Virginia.pdf