US president Bill Clinton is putting $300m into a programme intended to ensure that no American child escapes immunization.
In its zeal for the plan, the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington says health workers should dispense with niceties like physical examinations or taking temperatures “if they slow or prevent immunization”.
“A runny nose or the fact that a toddler is still breastfeeding should not prevent that child from getting vaccinated, ” says the Immunization Standards Ad Hoc Working Party.
“A reliable decision to vaccinate can be based exclusively on the information elicited from a parent. . .and on the provider’s observations and judgement about the child’s wellness at the time of the vaccination.”
The department adds: “Physicians should attempt to maximize each visit by administering vaccines simultaneously when indicated, instead of requiring parents to bring in their children repeatedly for single vaccine administration.”
Indeed, no chance should be missed. “Every encounter of any sort that physicians or other providers have with patients whether in an office or an emergency department or a hospital room offers an opportunity to administer appropriate vaccinations immediately.”