Over 90 Bipartisan Members of Congress Introduce "Vaccines Save Lives" House Resolution

Washington, DC – Today, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Charlie Dent (R-PA), Thomas Marino (R-PA), and Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced the bipartisan “Vaccines Save Lives” House Resolution with over 90 other Members of Congress. In the wake of the latest outbreak of measles in the United States, there has been a debate in the country over the safety of vaccines and whether parents should get their children vaccinated. The resolution is intended to highlight the public and global health achievements of vaccinations and immunizations around the world, and to urge vaccination. It recognizes the importance of vaccinations and immunizations in the U.S. as a matter of saving lives, stopping the spread of contagious and often fatal diseases, and maintaining the public health, economic and national security of the American people. 

Additionally, the resolution states that there is no credible evidence to show that vaccines cause life-threatening or disabling diseases in healthy children or adults and commends the work of the international community and various domestic and global organizations that have worked to keep us all safe through vaccination. It encourages more research to improve existing vaccines and to create more vaccines to protect ourselves from other fatal and infectious diseases.  Finally, it urges parents, in consultation with their health care provider, to follow the scientific consensus in favor of timely vaccination of their children.

“There’s no question that vaccines are safe, effective and critical to saving lives and creating a shared immunity in our communities and across the world,” said Rep. Adam Schiff. “With the latest measles outbreak in California and elsewhere, it’s more important than ever that children are vaccinated to prevent the spread of preventable and dangerous diseases -- including those that were previously eradicated. This bipartisan resolution recognizes the importance and scientific necessity of this life-saving medicine.”

“Vaccinations save lives. It is unconscionable that children are being put at risk because of decisions based on faulty information and untruths,” said Rep. Charlie Dent. “I believe it is important for Congress to speak out and assure Americans of not only the medical necessity of vaccinations, but also of their safety.”

"Recent outbreaks of measles have raised greater awareness about some serious public health issues we are have experienced. But we have the tools to prevent many of these diseases and outbreaks,” said Rep. Thomas Marino. “That prevention starts with individual and familial responsibility. This resolution simply states my colleagues and I support vaccinations for children so they can stay healthy and grow to fulfill their potential within our society - and it supports more research and more extensive efforts for outreach and awareness." 

“Every parent’s first concern is the health and safety of their children,” said Rep. Peter Welch. “The recent measles outbreak is a stark reminder of how important it is that all parents vaccinate their children.  Not doing so risks the health of their child and children in their community.” 

This bipartisan legislation is endorsed by the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA), and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). 

The text of the resolution can be found here:

A resolution to recognize the importance of vaccinations and immunizations in the United States.

Whereas the contributions of Louis Pasteur and Edward Jenner to the discovery of the principles of vaccination and immunology are among the most consequential health findings in human history;

Whereas vaccines have made it possible for the world to have eradicated smallpox, saving approximately 5 million lives annually, and for the international community to be on the brink of eradicating polio and to have saved an estimated 5 million people from this incurable disease over the past 2 decades;

Whereas vaccines have dramatically reduced the spread of many more crippling and potentially life-threatening diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, and rubella, and vaccines prevent the spread of commonly infectious and potentially fatal diseases such as chickenpox, shingles, influenza, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningococcal disease, pneumococcal, rotavirus, and whooping cough (pertussis); 

Whereas the scientific and medical communities are in overwhelming consensus that vaccines are both effective and safe, and the dissemination of unfounded, and debunked, theories about the dangers of vaccinations pose a great risk to public health, and scientifically-sound education and outreach campaigns about vaccination and immunization are fundamental for a well-informed public;

Whereas an estimated 43,000 adults and 300 children die annually from vaccine-preventable diseases or their complications in the United States, and the health and livelihood of young children, seniors, individuals with immunodeficiency disorders, and those who cannot be vaccinated, is particularly compromised by communities with low vaccination rates; 

Whereas substantial research has shown that vaccination is a highly cost-effective form of preventive medicine, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that vaccinations will save nearly $295 billion in direct costs and $1.38 trillion in total societal costs in the United States;

Whereas it is estimated that vaccinations will prevent more than 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths among children born in the last 20 years, and that more than 100 million children all over the world are immunized each year and vaccines have saved an estimated 2.5 million children annually;

Whereas one in five children worldwide still lack access to even the most basic vaccines and as a result, an estimated 1.5 million children a year die from vaccine-preventable conditions such as diarrhea and pneumonia or suffer from permanently debilitating illnesses;

Whereas a strong investment in medical research to improve existing vaccines and develop many more life-saving vaccines is beneficial to all, both at home and abroad, and a robust immunization infrastructure is essential to the public health and well-being of the people of the United States by preventing and isolating outbreaks of contagious diseases where they start;

Whereas encouraging high vaccination rates in the United States protects our citizens from contracting vaccine-preventable diseases that are pandemic in countries with low vaccination and immunization rates;  

Whereas routine and up-to-date immunization is the most effective method available to prevent the infection and transmission of potentially fatal diseases;

Whereas the United States has been a leader in promoting vaccinations around the world through U.S. Agency for International Development, the Center for Disease Control, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and a host of other multilateral and non-governmental organizations;

Therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1)       Commends the international community, global and domestic health organizations, the private sector, school and community leaders, and faith-based organizations for their tireless work and immense contributions to bolstering our global and domestic health through vaccination;

(2)       Affirms vaccines and immunizations save lives and are essential to maintain the public health, economic and national security of the people of the United States;

(3)       Recognizes that the lack of vaccination can cause a true public health crisis, and that there is no credible evidence to show that vaccines cause life-threatening or disabling diseases in healthy children or adults;

(4)       Encourages a continued commitment to research to improve vaccines and to develop new vaccines against other infectious and fatal diseases, and

(5)       Urges parents, in consultation with their health care provider, to follow the scientific evidence and consensus of medical experts in favor of timely vaccinations to protect their children and their community.