Federal cuts could limit childhood vaccines statewide - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Federal cuts could limit childhood vaccines statewide


Public health systems across the state of Iowa have offered free childhood vaccinations for decades.

But if federal lawmakers can't reach a compromise to avoid the so-called "sequester," significant cuts could be made to the public health system nationwide which are set to kick in Friday.

The sequester could force a nearly $300,000 cut to the public health system across the country. That means a significant amount of kids would not be able to receive childhood vaccinations, and health officials fear the worst may be yet to come.

"It's not for me to say whether it's fair. It's unfortunate that the programs we most heavily rely on to protect the health of the community are being impacted," said Black Hawk County Public Health Director Bruce Meisinger.

Meisinger said the Black Hawk County Health Department has been preparing for a 17 percent cut in federal dollars that fund childhood immunizations.

According to Meisinger, this means about 100 kids in Black Hawk County who depend on the free childhood vaccinations would not be able to receive them.

Statewide, this equates to 1,320 kids who would be unable to receive vaccines because of the anticipated $90,000 slash to federal funding for childhood vaccinations.

"It's not disastrous. It's not a horrendous impact on this program," said Meisinger. But, Meisinger added, "It just takes one child to expose a number of other children in close contact."

Meisinger fears the expected cuts will be the first of additional cuts to the public health system.

"That's when the public health disaster begins to unfold," he said.

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