Following child deaths, doctors try to administer flu vaccines at the border


Doctors are pressing US Customs and Border Defense to allow them to vaccinate migrant children against influenza after some of them die in federal disease in the past year.

The agency has not yet responded to this week's bid to retain 100 migrant parents and children in detention of a Border Patrol in St. Clears. The group also offered seven doctors to launch volunteers to vaccinate migrants at Border Patrol catch areas around the country “to prevent a flu epidemic,” seeking unhealthy detention conditions “which would cause a significant alarm.” T

The doctors sent a letter to the US chiefs. Homeland Security and Health and Human Services earlier this month noted that the rate of influenza mortality among migrant children in Border Patrol custody was nine times the general population last year and brought to Tuesday to respond. offer. By the end of Tuesday, there was no sign that the Border Patrol would accept it.

“In our professional medical opinion,” the doctors said, “this death rate is an emergency that threatens the safety of a person's life, particularly children.” T

Three youngsters – aged 2, 6 and 16 – died in Border Patrol custody of influenza during the federal fiscal year which ended in September. The deaths were as a result of the number of children and migrant families in federal countries custody reached record numbers.

The number of migrant family members and children arriving at the border has fallen every five months after downgrading last year but is still higher than before. Last month, for the first time in a year, Border Patrol caught more individual adults (22,863) than family members (9,733) crossing the border illegally. However, this was always double the number of family members they took in 2017, before last year's rise.

Border Patrol officers say they do not vaccinate migrant families and children because their holding areas are to be temporary.

“As a law enforcement agency, and because of the short-term nature of the holding (Border Patrol) and other logistical challenges, a vaccination program cannot be operated,” said Border Patrol spokesman.

Border Patrol plans to transfer migrant children coming to the border without a parent to Health and Human Services within 72 hours, and the spokesman said the agency had tried not to keep any migrant beyond that. .

“Every effort is made to retain detention for as long as is necessary to process, transfer, release or repatriate,” she said, but she acknowledged “due to recent large numbers of migrants and demographics. at times (Border Patrol (b) it is not able to limit the time in the … to 72 hours. ” t

Border Patrols can release migrants, transfer them to HHS or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which run the country's immigrant and family immigrant detention centers. Both HHS and ICE have comprehensive medical support services and can provide vaccines as appropriate for those in custody, ”said Border Patrol spokesperson.

Flu diagnosed migrants are treated if they are detained or go to a local hospital, she said. Immigrant children who positively test the flu are “relative as possible” to protect others in custody, she said.

But Julie Sierra, one of the doctors who asked immigrants to vaccinate, said that the Border Patrol should do more to prevent the spread of the disease she saw among migrants at her San Diego clinic. past year. t

“It is putting people in a dangerous situation and increasing their risks of acquiring disease, including flu,” she said, and while migrants can get vaccination later, “the vaccination will not help with them when they are already ill. ”

ICE provides all vaccines recommended for migrant children of a suitable age, and adults who are also kept in family custody are also offered the flu vaccine.

HHS provides a medical examination to migrant children within two days of arrival from Border Patrol custody. Medical staff decide the vaccines that children need, or if children do not have vaccination records, they administer a series of vaccines approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last December, after two immigrant children from Guatemalan died in Border Patrol custody in the El Paso area, one of the flu-related illnesses, Border Patrol officers promised to increase medical screening, particularly for children. . They extended their team of 20 medical staff on the border to over 250, the spokesman said, ensuring that most of the facilities in the busiest stretches of the site had 24-hour medical staff on site. border – including Rio Grande Valley and El Paso. immigrants coming on screen.

But young immigrants continued to die in federal custody. After the death of a 16-year-old migrant of Guatemalan's age, Carlos Hernandez, of the May 21 flu, a Border Patrol had to temporarily close a southern Texas detention center where he was detained and three dozen other sick migrants. In August, doctors at Harvard universities and Johns Hopkins argued that the Conference would investigate the deaths of migrant children in detention of Border Patrol, added warning conditions with a higher fatal flu frequency.

Last month, they were handed over by three Democratic Parties – including Reps. and “shortsighted.” On 30 October, other migrant nurses and barristers attempted to deliver donated flu vaccines to the St. Brigid's Border Patrol station but were thrown out.

Sierra, one of the physicians pushing for vaccines, said, “We won't let them in. It is our responsibility to care for your patients, to be on call. We keep trying to help you. ”

She said doctors tried to provide vaccines for migrants in Tijuana but had not succeeded in overcoming red tape. They have already ordered 100 flu vaccines, and if Border Patrol ultimately refuses to offer it, Sierra said they are likely to use them to vaccinate migrants at their San Diego clinic.


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