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Wyden calls for lower barriers to vaccinations


Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., urged the Trump administration Tuesday to take additional steps to help prevent the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases, in light of reports that parts of the country including Oregon have seen outbreaks of these diseases.

“Preventing the spread of contagious diseases in our communities requires an all-hands-on-deck approach,” Wyden said in a letter. “Too many children, including those covered by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, are now vulnerable to illnesses that vaccines have relegated to the history books.

“This is an especially important issue for rural and underserved communities. More needs to be done to ensure all Americans have access to these life-saving vaccinations, including legislation that lowers any barriers that still exist.”

The letter, sent to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, comes after reports of vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, have been documented around the country, including in Oregon, Wyden’s office said in a news release.

Wyden called on CMS to identify additional steps that can be taken to ensure children in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) receive all recommended vaccines, tackle disparities in vaccination rates, and ensure states have the resources they need to take on this challenge.

Over the past few decades, the United States has made extraordinary progress increasing its immunization rates, primarily due to programs such as Medicaid and CHIP and the Vaccines for Children program, the lawmaker said.

The full letter can be found here.

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