U.S. immigration authorities say they will not give flu vaccines to detained migrants despite three children dying in U.S. custody, in part, as a result of the flu.
“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,” a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokeswoman told The Hill in an emailed statement.
Earlier this month, Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) wrote to CBP as well as to the Department of Health and Human Services, raising concerns over the spread of influenza in detention centers after at least three children died in U.S. custody, in part, as a result of the flu.
The two top House Democrats sent the agencies a letter from several Harvard and Johns Hopkins doctors, who asked for a congressional investigation into health conditions at President Trump’s border patrol facilities.
“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,” the doctors wrote. “Another influenza season is around the corner. … Timely action is critical.”
The CDC recommends annual flu shots for everyone more than 6 months old.
A recent Homeland Security watchdog report warned against “dangerous overcrowding” and “prolonged detention” at border detention facilities in the Rio Grande Valley.