Health care providers promise to lobby to get children detained by ICE vaccinated

Dr. Luz Arroyo could not contain the crying when, with a loudspeaker in hand and a few meters from the border with Tijuana, she recalled that through that same place she crossed as undocumented as a child in the company of her mother.

I can't help thinking that, if I crossed four years old today, walking 19 hours and hiding from the agents, I would be separated from my mother and that I would need influenza vaccines … Or think that of my two-year-old daughter, ”he said the doctor of general medicine and psychiatry resident of Sacramento.

The doctor questioned "how not to think about vaccinating and caring for children detained at this border, knowing that three of them have died from influenza, a virus that is perfectly controllable with a vaccine," she said.

Arroyo was one of more than twenty health professionals who arrived this Wednesday until the checkpoint of San Ysidro, San Diego, to continue peaceful protests for the third consecutive day in demand that the Border Patrol allow doctors to vaccinate children held in the detention center.

On Monday a group of about 50 doctors and medical students tried to enter the detention center to vaccinate.

And on Tuesday in protest outside the Border Patrol headquarters in Chula Vista, six doctors were arrested for an hour for hindering the entrance to the facilities.

This Wednesday after the protest in the checkpoint, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) office to which the patrol belongs, agreed to have a dialogue with a representative group of doctors, mostly from the Doctors for Closing organization de Campos (of concentration) – as they call the detention centers.

‘I was sick and you visited me… I was in prison and you came for me,’ said the sign of one of the protesters.

After the two-hour meeting at the patrol headquarters in Chula Vista, the authorities denied doctors permission to enter to vaccinate the children.

“We have not had the result we wanted for this health and humanitarian crisis. We don't want more undocumented children to die due to lack of vaccines or lack of attention, ”Salvadoran anesthesiologist Mario Mendoza told La Opinión.

Dr. Bonnie Arzuela, a pediatrician from Boston, said her organization will continue actions throughout the country.

"We are more than 4,000 doctors across the nation and we will continue lobbying to try to change this policy that has already led to the death of seven children, three of them for lack of influenza vaccines," said the professional.

He stressed that now is when children require more care against influenza because it is the season in which the disease spreads.

He explained that even if the children were locked up for a maximum of 72 hours, as established by law, it would be enough time for influenza to spread among the children.

At the end of the protest there were no more arrests.


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