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August 21, 2019

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Customs and Border Patrol’s Flu Vaccine Policy Breaches Basic Public Health Tenet

In a joint statement, the leaders of IDSA, HIVMA, PIDS, SHEA and American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) spoke out against the recent decision by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to withhold vaccinations against seasonal influenza from migrants in border detention facilities.

“The [decision] runs directly counter to the imperative that no individual should be harmed as a result of being detained, and that the community standard of medical care be available to persons in the custody of the U.S. government,” the statement says.

“An essential tool in protecting both individual and public health, vaccinations against potentially life-threatening and preventable illnesses are an indispensable component of routine healthcare. Since 2010, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended annual influenza vaccination for ALL persons 6 months of age or older in the absence of medical reasons not to be vaccinated, a recommendation that, as organizations of more 16,000 infectious diseases specialists, we stand firmly behind,” the Societies state.  

The Societies call for an immediate plan to administer vaccinations against seasonal influenza and to ensure the delivery of all other routine medical immunizations in facilities under the oversight of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. Read the full statement here.

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