September 29, 2009

CDC Looks to Force Vaccines on a National Scale

Today Thomas R. Frieden, head of CDC appeared before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to testify on H1N1 and in a response to a question from Congressman Darrell Issa, said that the CDC would like to create federal mandates forcing vaccines on the public.

Issa asked about the "push back" from the New York medical professionals to the states mandate that they receive the H1N1 and seasonal flu shot and the case that the state has for forcing the vaccines. Frieden expressed the opinion that he believed that the state mandate is warranted, and that he thinks such mandates should take place at a federal level, although not this year.

This echos Julie Gerberding's comments to the New York Times last week in regard to the NY manndate that CDC wanted to implement forced vaccines while she was there.

"The unions do not oppose vaccination “but we oppose a mandatory program,” he said. “This is: ‘You don’t get the shot, you’re fired.’ ”

Some prominent health experts, however, were delighted.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called New York’s move “a big deal.”

She had pushed for years for mandatory vaccinations — not just to protect health care workers, she explained, but to protect their patients, who are often aged, have weakened immune systems or are bedridden after surgery, which increases pneumonia risks.

“We tried to market the idea, to push people, to educate,” she said. “But looking back, broadly speaking, we failed. It’s time to look at a more aggressive approach.”

By contrast, her successor, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, said last month that even though he expected a surge in swine flu deaths this winter and even though C.D.C. guidelines give health care workers first priority for the new vaccine, he would not push to make vaccinations mandatory."

Apparently the NYT was only partially right that Frieden wouldn't push for forced vaccinations. He wants to force them, just not this year.

Video can be found here, Issa/Frieden discussion starts at 43:20.

UPDATE: Listening to Frieden again, I can't tell if he is talking about mandating vaccines for health care workers or for the general public. Not that either are acceptable. But I don't think that a mandate for health professionals would be anything but a precedent for mass forced vaccination.

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