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Terri A. Sewell

11/30/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/30/2021 17:36

Rep. Sewell’s Maternal Vaccination Act Passes the House

Washington, D.C.- Today, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07), a proud member of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, announced that her bill, the Maternal Vaccination Act, passed the House of Representatives by unanimous consent. The bill, which Rep. Sewell introducedin February, takes aim at the United States' urgent maternal health crisis, providing critical funding to increase maternal vaccination rates and reduce vaccination disparities. The Maternal Vaccination Act was included in the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021.

"Today, the House took an important step in our fight to address the nation's urgent maternal health crisis by passing my Maternal Vaccination Act!" said Rep. Sewell. "We know that the U.S. suffers from the highest pregnancy-related death rate in the developed world with Black women facing disproportionately high maternal mortality rates."

"By providing funding to increase immunization rates for women and babies from communities with historically low vaccination rates, my Maternal Vaccination Act will help protect our mothers and babies from preventable diseases," continued Sewell. "Passage of this bill brings us one step closer to ensuring that women of every background enjoy equal access to maternal health care."

"Low vaccination rates put both mothers and babies at risk, so we must work to increase maternal vaccinations during this public health emergency and beyond. I was proud to see the House of Representatives pass Congresswoman Terri Sewell's Maternal Vaccination Act with unanimous bipartisan support-it's a crucial part of my Momnibus package that will protect moms and babies against vaccine-preventable diseases and save lives," said Rep. Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Founder and Co-Chair of the Black Maternal Health Caucus. "I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this bill and other key priorities from the Momnibus and get them signed into law."

The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 will build on existing maternal health legislation, like policies to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage, with 12 bills to comprehensively address every dimension of America's maternal health crisis.

The United States has the highest pregnancy-related death rate in the developed world. The maternal mortality rate is significantly higher among Black women, who are three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related complications. Other birthing people of color, including Hispanic, Native American, and Asian American and Pacific Islander women, also suffer from disproportionate rates of adverse maternal health outcomes.

The Maternal Vaccination Act will provide funding for a public and provider awareness campaign to promote maternal and child vaccinations, including initiatives to:

  • Increase awareness about the safety, importance, and effectiveness of vaccines for pregnant and postpartum people and their children;
  • Provide targeted, evidence-based, culturally and linguistically appropriate resources about vaccines to pregnant and postpartum people, particularly in communities with historically low vaccination rates; and
  • Provide evidence-based information and resources on the safety and importance of maternal and child vaccinations to public health departments, maternal health care providers, and perinatal health workers.