The antivaccine movement ain’t gonna like this one bit…

Whatever you think of President Obama’s economic stimulus package, there’s one thing that I, at least, am happy to learn about it:

Vice President Joe Biden announced today that the Obama Administration will make $2.3 billion available for crucial health and human services programs that help to provide care for children and prevent disease. States will receive $2 billion in Recovery Act funding to support child care for working families. The administration also plans to make $300 million in vaccines and grants available to ensure more underserved Americans receive the vaccines they need.

[…]

In addition to funding for child care programs, an additional $300 million in Recovery Act funding and grants will help to ensure more underserved Americans receive the vaccines they need. The Vice President’s announcement came as Americans mark National Public Health Week.

Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the majority of these new resources will be used to purchase vaccines, which will be distributed through the HHS’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Section 317 immunization program to all 50 states, several large cities, and U.S. territories. Funding will also be used to support national public information campaigns regarding vaccines and support grants to states that demonstrate innovative new ways to ensure more Americans receive the vaccines they need.

“Vaccines help keep children healthy, prevent costly stays in hospitals, and fight diseases that can lead to serious illness or death” added Biden. “The Recovery Act will help to vaccinate more Americans, cut health care costs, improve public health and save lives.”

More information regarding the child care and vaccine programs is included below. To see a list of state by state funding for child care programs, visit http://transparency.cit.nih.gov/RecoveryGrants/grant.cfm?grant=childcare. To see a list of state by state funding for vaccine programs, visit http://transparency.cit.nih.gov/RecoveryGrants/grant.cfm?grant=vaccines.

This is about as great a use for some of that Obama stimulus cash as I can think of. State vaccination programs have been underfunded for a long time. Moreover, there’s funding there for education:

Nearly $32 million in Recovery Act funds will be used to increase information, communication and education and strengthen the evidence base for immunization. This will include activities to increase national public awareness and knowledge about the benefits and risks of vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases. Funds will also help provide tools and education for health care providers and to monitor and assess the impact and safety of licensed vaccines routinely recommended for use in the United States to ensure that national vaccine policy is appropriate and effective.

Although such an effort is long overdue, unfortunately no amount of education is likely to change the minds of the die-hard antivaccinationists of Jenny McCarthy’s ilk. No amount of science, no amount of appropriate education about vaccination will ever convince them that vaccines don’t cause autism. However, I remain optimistic that their misinformation-filled propaganda campaign can be countered.