Vaccination Outreach Suffers Under Government Shutdown

One of the casualties of the partial government shutdown is flu vaccine outreach in underserved Houston communities. With flu season around the corner, one immunization organization is concerned the message will be lost, which could cause big health problems.

The stalemate in Washington has affected a lot of government programs, but one that concerns Houston's Immunization Partnership is the reduced staff at the Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC typically leads the way when it comes to tracking the spread of the flu and letting communities know about the importance of flu shots.

This is Immunization Partnership CEO Anna Dragsbaek.  

"We won't have access to that information until the government is back in business, so it's incredibly important for people to take it upon themselves to be reminded that this is flu season and you need to get your flu vaccine."

She's says there's no reduction in the supply of the flu vaccine because of the partial shutdown, just the message that flu vaccines are important. She says there is some good news.

"The federal vaccines for children program, which supplies vaccines for children who are uninsured, will continue through the shutdown. It is considered an essential service. So that's the good news that we will definitely be able to get vaccines for underserved children."

Dragsbaek says the CDC's staff reduction also means interruptions in tracking other diseases and treatment updates.

About 9,000 CDC workers are off the job because of the partial shutdown. 

CDC website
CDC screenshot during the government shutdown