Federal funding cuts could hurt Lubbock childhood vaccination clinics

Back-to-school mandatory vaccinations could be harder to get.
Published: Jul. 7, 2023 at 6:15 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - On Friday, the CDC announced to states across the nation that funding cuts are coming for childhood vaccine programs.

The recent debt ceiling deal pulled back about $27 billion of unspent federal funding that was allocated to fight COVID-19. The CDC says this led to funding cuts.

The City of Lubbock Health Department Immunization Program liaison said, “We’ve gone through a serious pandemic. We do not want to go through that again”.

The Vaccines for Children program is a federally-funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children who might otherwise be unvaccinated because of their inability to pay.

“The vaccines that we provide address vaccine-preventable diseases, diseases that could spread very quickly,” Mike Montanez said.

He said most vaccines administered at local clinics are mandatory back-to-school immunizations.

“When you have large numbers of children in classrooms and playgrounds, these diseases can spread pretty quickly,” Montanez said.

An article written by KFF Health News states state public health officials received an email from the CDC this week cutting funding for those child vaccination programs, which is a significant change to the budget.

“We really don’t know yet how these cuts will affect the state of Texas, were hoping it will not be so impactful so abruptly,” he said.

Montanez says it could hurt small communities like ours the most.

“What this would mean is that [parents who] have the desire to protect their children from these vaccine-preventable diseases, may not have the opportunity to do so.”

“It’s a shame that politics had to rear its ugly head in public health and vaccines,” Montanez said.

Montanez said we have the tools necessary to fight these contagious diseases and prevent another global pandemic, and we need to use them.“The impact that this could have on families could be catastrophic,” he said.

States have not learned exactly how much their budgets will be cut, but Montanez said they should be finding out before the new school year.