Alaskans are on their way to getting immunizations again. The Senate Wednesday passed a House bill reinstating the adult and children’s immunization program – at least temporarily. The program was disassembled in 2009. Nome Democrat Donnie Olson said federal funding has dropped by 84 percent and all adult vaccinations have be stopped – as well as many vaccinations offered to children.
“This program has held at bay a number of terrible diseases that are not just like threatening, but they’re also life altering. Frequently these diseases cause death. I’m speaking mainly of meningococcal meningitis, some of the rotaviruses, influenza as well as pneumococcal,” Olson said.
The bill provides about $5 million annually for the program for the next three years and offers protection to uninsured and underinsured children children. He says there’s still a risk of disease outbreaks, but the program makes the basics available to everyone.
“For the children under nineteen, they include all the vaccines required by the state of Alaska for school attendance, plus rotaviruses, influenza and pneumococcal. For adults you’re getting influenza, pneumococcal, T-Dap and Zoster. With that I want to urge people to have a positive vote on this very necessary legislation,” he said.
The Senate did not change the bill from the version that passed the House, so it can now go next to the governor for action.