Sunday, October 18, 2009

HHS To Vaccinate All Schoolchildren for Swine Flu

Student Leaders in Uproar Due to HHS Vaccination Plan
Gordon Hsu
Chicago Tribune
October 18, 2009

WASHINGTON-- Student and teacher organizations around the northeastern United States are extremely frustrated with an upcoming pilot program put forward by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

According to the statement issued by the Department last Thursday, all students in the Northeast would be required to have taken the swine flu vaccination by December 1st of this year. The program would mainly concentrate on this region due to its historically high rates of influenza cases.

If this program is deemed successful, the vaccination requirements will be administered in each section of the continental United States by the end of 2010.

According to Faye Dunham, a spokeswoman for Secretary Sebelius, the flu vaccinations would be administered either by family physician or by school nurse. It was unclear the consequences if a student did not receive vaccinations.

"It is of critical importance to our young people and to our future to ensure a life of fit health." said Dunham during a Friday press conference in Alexandria, Virginia. "If students are at risk of this terrible disease, it could lead to illness, poor grades, and poor socialization."

Some have questioned the legality of this move, but the Secretary's statement was clear regarding this.

"This necessary action is authorized by an executive order signed by my dear friend Ronald Reagan in 1987." Sebelius said, "The HHR, with the consent of the White House and funding from Congress, has the authority to prevent potential pandemics."

Funding for the program is not clear of yet, although $60 million was set aside for flu prevention in the American Health and Quality of Life provision included in this year's budget.

Mandatory vaccinations are expected to begin November 2 in New York and be instituted in all of New England by November 15.

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