Despite the three deaths in US detention centers since December 2018 and the alerts of doctors. “Child deaths are rare events in the United States,” says Harvard pediatric professor Jonathan Winickoff in an interview with CNBC. “When I learned that many children had died in detention because of the flu, it really troubled me.”
Since December 2018, at least three children aged 2, 6, and 16 have died in US detention centers after contracting the disease. They had just crossed the border that separates the United States from Mexico.
Different doctors have alerted the authorities to the need to vaccinate all detainees free of charge as soon as they arrive in the detention camps. The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which organizes and controls immigration, has announced that it will not do anything until this year’s influenza season (usually around October), according to CNBC.
- Disturbing cases
These three cases are of great concern to scientists and doctors. In the United States, the death rate among children who have the flu is about 1 in 600,000. Here, three out of the 200,000 human beings are held in detention centers along the border.
For this reason, on August 1, 2019, Ph. Ds from Harvard and Johns Hopkins Universities wrote a letter to Democrats Rosa DeLauro and Lucille Roybal-Allard calling for an investigation into these three deaths. The text suggests that poor conditions in detention facilities could magnify the spread of the flu.
- A position that does not move
Doctors recommend that every child older than 6 months get a vaccine. “During the influenza season, vaccination should be offered to all detainees as soon as they arrive to maximize protection for the youngest and most vulnerable,” it says.
The position of the Customs and Border Protection Service seems unchanged. “Because of the short time that CBP takes these people and the complexity of the vaccination programs, neither CBP nor its medical contractors are administering the vaccines to them,” the agency said on Tuesday, August 20. .
Doctors accused the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services of failing to optimize practices to treat and prevent the spread of disease in these camps.
“They should be able to do that,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University. I think the response [from Customs and Border Protection] is inappropriate. “