US Customs and Border Protection confirmed on Tuesday that they would not give flu shots to migrants and refugees at the southern border despite three flu deaths.
"In principle, due to the short-term nature of the CDB's maintenance and the complexity of its in-service vaccination programs, neither the CDB nor its medical providers conduct vaccinations on those in our custody," a CDB spokeswoman said in a statement Tuesday.
Officials also said medical staff working at border facilities has increased dramatically in recent years, with over 200 people now working to maintain healthy migrants. Only 20 medical staff were employed at the border in 2018. "On-site medical staff is available 24/7 to provide medical diagnostics and treatment, address infectious disease problems and coordinate referral and follow-up from the local health system / emergency room." a statement by a CDB spokeswoman said. She also said that migrants determined to seek vaccinations from medical professionals would receive them if needed.[[[[Read also: Lawyers sue Trump administration for failing to provide detained migrants with appropriate medical care]
The large influx of migrants seeking refugee status at the southern border has affected health workers and lawmakers in the event of flu-related deaths. "When I found out that more children died in custody for possible reasons that could be prevented, it really upset me," said Dr. Athonathan Vinikoff of Harvard Pediatrics. "The country needs urgent answers to this question so that children can stop dying in custody."
"When you are a border patrol, whose responsibility is law enforcement and giving medical care responsibility, it is a complicated mission," said Dr. ieouli Linton, president of the Council of the American Academy of Pediatrics for Immigrant Child and Family Health. "It is crucial to speak as a doctor." Dr Linton has also criticized the conditions of migrant facilities and is overcrowded and unsanitary. "There are several things we can do to prevent deaths and infections. These do not include holding children in cages like objects and warehouses, "she said.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has announced on its website that details of medical treatment and screening should be expected of migrants. "Refugees and immigrants seeking admission to the United States are required to have a medical examination," the site said. "During a doctor's, a healthcare professional checks specific diseases and assesses the status of immunization. The healthcare professional can perform blood tests to find out which vaccines the refugee or the immigrant may need."
The CDC's website also details a program co-developed with the State Department that offers vaccination to asylum seekers through legal ports of entry into the United States. The program describes its ethos as: "Refugees (and, where possible, 93 visa applicants) are offered immunizations at participating sites depending on age, vaccine history and eligibility."