Lack of flu shots for migrants at CBP detention centers a concern, critics say

Fox News | 8/22/2019 | Danielle Wallace
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and their medical contractors do not administer influenza vaccines to migrants being held at detention centers along the U.S.-Mexico border, reports said Tuesday.

“In general, due to the short-term nature of CBP holding and the complexities of operating vaccination programs, neither CBP nor its medical contractors administer vaccinations to those in our custody,” the agency told The Hill in a statement. Children receive the flu vaccine once they are transferred from CBP to Health and Human Services (HHS) custody, the CBP spokesperson said.

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Earlier this month, doctors from Harvard, Johns Hopkins and other medical groups wrote a letter to two top House Democrats, asking for a congressional investigation into conditions at border detention centers ahead of flu seasons. The doctors argued a “rapid turnover of detainees increases the spread of influenza” at centers.

The doctors said at least three of the six children who died in CBP custody this year were at least partially affected by the flu, according to their autopsy reports.

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“These tragic deaths appear to represent more than half of child deaths in the last year in these immigration facilities and to reflect a rate of influenza death substantially higher than that in the general population,” doctors’ letter said. “Another influenza season is around the corner. … Timely action is critical.”

Children who fall ill with influenza at detention centers appear to be at a higher risk of complications due to an alleged lack of protocol in...
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