Vaccine Work Group Lauds Public Health Investments in State Budget
Historic Funding for Public Health, Resources for Testing, Vaccine Access and Public Education
SACRAMENTO – Members of the legislative Vaccine Work Group have been advocating for cohesive and comprehensive, evidenced-based policies in the 2022-23 Budget to strengthen the state’s ability to respond to public health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. The inclusion of a historic $375 million investment in California’s public health infrastructure and over $2 billion to fight COVID and ensure equitable access to testing and vaccines positions California to continue moving forward to protect Californians.
Dr. Richard Pan, state senator and pediatrician said, “COVID-19 proved public health saves lives, and I am proud to have advocated for this year’s historic state funding for public health. California’s state budget will include $375 million to strengthen the public health workforce and infrastructure for both state and local public health, with an ongoing $300 million annually for public health. These investments will keep California healthier and safer from COVID, future pandemics and other health threats. I am grateful to Senate President pro Tem Atkins, Assembly Speaker Rendon, Governor Newsom and my colleagues who crafted this budget.”
“I am very proud of the victories we’ve won this year to provide worthy investments in public health infrastructure. Facilities and stockpiles of medical supplies are critical to an effective public health response to crises and normal health care needs,” said Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry. “But, at the heart of any effort to build our public health capacity is the need to recruit and retain the essential health workers who provide services to our people. These investments in this year’s budget are the ones that make me most proud and will do the most to protect the well-being of all Californians.”
State Senator Josh Newman, Chair of the Special Committee on Pandemic Emergency Response said, “The vital investments in this budget to prioritize ongoing testing, provide robust viral surveillance, and shore up our beleaguered public health departments will not only allow us to get to the end of the pandemic in much better shape, they will also better equip us as a state to respond more nimbly and effectively to the next public health emergency.”
Assemblymember Dr. Akilah Weber said, “This budget provides crucial funding to address the vaccine equity gap and make sure underserved communities have the testing, public education and vaccine access they need. As a physician and mother, I applaud the important investments in vaccine education and access for all Californians.”
Assemblymember Buffy Wicks said, "With this budget, we're making bold investments in public health, including vital resources for COVID workplace safety outreach and education in high-risk industries. These investments mean we can give Californians the opportunity to protect themselves from the worst outcomes of the pandemic. Speaker Rendon, pro Tem Atkins and Governor Newsom deserve our thanks for making public health a budget priority."
State Senator Scott Wiener said, “This budget makes a massive and very needed investment in California’s public health. We must be able to respond swiftly to pandemics and future medical emergencies, and this funding will help us do that. This budget also funds COVID testing and vaccinations as we continue to weather the impacts of this pandemic. This funding will save countless lives.”
Among the investments in public health infrastructure included in the final adopted 2022-23 Budget is $300 million annually to public health departments across the state, as well as an additional $75 million one-time for public health workforce development. The Budget also provides over $530 million for COVID-19 testing and includes funding for Medi-Cal reimbursement for school testing and vaccine administration. There is another $230 million allocated for COVID-19 vaccine media and outreach, in addition to $32 million to bolster vaccine access in pediatric settings and hundreds of millions to address vaccine access and equity throughout California. This budget also includes needed funding for expanding wastewater surveillance to improve viral surveillance, as well as $50 million for worker and employer outreach in high-risk workplaces to provide education on labor laws that help minimize the spread of COVID-19.
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On January 19, Dr. Pan and six other legislators announced the formation of a legislative Vaccine Work Group to facilitate coordinated action to promote vaccines and science-based public health policy.