CBP Will Not Vaccinate Migrants Against Flu-3 Dead in Custody

According to CNN, US Customs and Border Protection Will Not Vaccinate Migrants Against Flu, even though three children who had been in US custody had reportedly died after contracting the flu. The cases all occurred since December. In a statement on Tuesday from CBP, “In general, because of 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”.

CBP Will Not Vaccinate Migrants Against Flu-3 Dead in Custody

Migrants are supposed to be held in CBP custody for 72 hours or less but they are often held there for longer period which is against the Flores settlement agreement. CNN reported that generally detained migrants are nor supposed to spend 72 hours at the Centralized Processing Center in McAllen, Texas, per US Customs and Border Protection policy.

But the average time single adults spend at the processing center is more than 100 hours, the latest sign of how the facility’s limits are being tested, says CBP. In March, that same facility was over capacity. Headline have previously warned of a health crisis at the facility, which houses unaccompanied minors, family units and single adults. Migrants were diagnosed with influenza in May.

On Thursday when CNN returned to the facility center, we found that little has changed since our last visit. But the level of assistance has grown. A spokeswoman from the Office of Refugee Resettlement said that after leaving the CBP custody, children who has no parent are sent into the care of the US Department of Health and Human Services where flu vaccines are distributed in order to get them vaccinated.

Although, there was a string reactions from public health experts to CBP statement, urging the departments to allow migrants to be vaccinated even if they’re in CBP custody for only a few days.

An infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University and an adviser to the US Centers for Disease Control and Protection, Dr. William Schaffner said,

I think their answers is completely inappropriate, they ought to be able to do this. They create facilities that encourage the spread of infectious agents with flu at the top of the list.”

In the United States, Flu activity typically begins to increase around October and many US pharmacies already have flu vaccines available. Children younger than 5, mostly those younger than 2, are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications, according to report from the CDC. Flu seasons vary in severity, but each year, thousands of children are hospitalized related to the flu, and some children die. A flu vaccine is the best defense measure against getting flu as well as spreading it to others, the CDC said.

Concern about contagious diseases

A letter was written on August 5 from two congress members to the heads of the US Department of Homeland Security and HHS, expressing concern about contagious diseases.

When we visited the Homestead detention facility on July 15, 2019, we left with serious questions about the screening, treatment, isolation, and prevention protocols of infectious diseases, particularly influenza. During the influenza season,  all detainees should be vaccinated promptly upon arrival to maximize protection for the youngest and most vulnerable detainees.” Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat from Connecticut, and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, a Democrat from California, wrote to Kevin McAleenan, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and Alex Azar, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.