During the confirmation hearings yesterday for Tom Daschle, who is to become the Secretary of Health and Human Services, there was this exchange:

J. REED: As you grapple with health care reform, you’re also grappling with the budget, so good luck on both matters. But if you could pay particular attention to Title VII, that would be very appreciative. In a similar vein, Section 317 of CDC’s program on immunization is so important. It’s been estimated that we need to provide these about $1.1 billion to cover all the recommended vaccines for eligible children and adults. And frankly, we provided less than half of that.

So that I think is another priority. And the estimates are staggering in terms of the savings. For every dollar we spend here, we collectively save $16.50. It’s one of those — in fact, it’s one of the great crimes (ph) to public health over the last hundred years — vaccination.

So if you’d like to comment, I would appreciate it, Senator.

T. DASCHLE: Well, I think this is a first time immunization has come up in the hearing, and I applaud you, Senator Reed, for raising it.

Immunization is probably as — as sound an investment as we can make in good health. I can’t imagine that we could do any better than ensure that every — every child is immunized, and that we understand the importance of — of broad-based immunization and the tremendous good health that can come from it.

But — but I think at — at various times in the past, while we’ve certainly been supportive rhetorically, we haven’t been supportive through research. And I think it’s critical, as you know, that we put the resources where they belong, in the best investments in health, and certainly immunization is one of them.

Take that, Jenny McCarthy! Funny, but I looked at the Age of Autism page just now, and there was nothing about this story there. I wonder why. No doubt an oversight. Either that, or they’re cranking up the slime machine to paint Daschle as an evil minion of big pharma.

Here’s hoping that this means that antivaccination loons like her will not have any traction in HHS during the Obama Administration.


  1. #1 Liesele
    January 9, 2009

    Thanks for some good news. This is what we need to hear.

  2. #2 FreeSpeaker
    January 9, 2009

    I am sure that the junta at AoA, and their army of lemmings, is looking at every campaign contribution Daschle ever received. I bet they have someone snooping in his garbage cans.

    It seems that there may be a new show in DC this year, Barack the Science Pres.

  3. #3 Ranson
    January 9, 2009

    This sounds great. However, I hear just a hit of possible appeasement in the “research” quote. Too many times have the anti-vaxers insisted on non-existent research before we can declare vaccines “safe”, or they deny that any research has been done up to this point.

    Given the context, though, I consider that interpretation a low possibility, but I’m wary.

  4. #4 Imhotep
    January 9, 2009

    Daschle’s comments may not be enough to get their attention. Aren’t most vaccinations made by a few companies; and the cost is very low?

    My point is that vaccinations ARE a low cost investment with big health savings on the other end.

  5. #5 Mu
    January 9, 2009

    They know they lose on the cost argument – and since most vaccinations are done during routine scheduled visits, NOT giving them saves only minimal anyway. I guess Tom Daschle doesn’t plan to run for his seat again after his cabinet post, so he can afford to say reasonable things now without having to fear the backlash of JM’s mob.

  6. #6 Rogue Medic
    January 9, 2009

    Sounds good, but he is a politician. It does seem to be a clear statement of support for vaccines, although Ranson may have a point.

  7. #7 Mike
    January 9, 2009

    Sanity slowly rears it’s ugly head. Yes!

  8. #8 bob
    January 9, 2009

    Wow, good news for the good guys in the vaccination “debate” for once! Awesome.

  9. #9 SteveM
    January 9, 2009

    I am really confused by Reed’s statement here, “For every dollar we spend here, we collectively save $16.50. It’s one of those — in fact, it’s one of the great crimes (ph) to public health over the last hundred years — vaccination.”

    It really sounds like he is saying “Vaccination is one of the great crimes to public health”, which just doesn’t jive with the part about saving $16 for every dollar spent.
    Was something mis-transcribed?

  10. #10 SteveM
    January 9, 2009

    Of course. the instant I ask the question I understand the disjointed construction.

    Reed is saying that the great crime to public health is that we’ve only spent half the amount required to immunize every eligible child.

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