Congressmen (and Reporters) Get Free Flu Shots During Shutdown

By Penny Starr | October 14, 2013 | 11:56am EDT

(AP Photo)

( -- Operating through an “emergency and health services” protocol, congressional representatives, senators, their staff, credentialed journalists, other credentialed media personnel, and U.S. Capitol Police are still receiving free flu shots at health units in the Capitol and at locations in office buildings.

“The Office of the Attending Physician continues to administer the previously purchased flu vaccine as part of its mission to support Congress and the continuity of operations through emergency and health services,” a spokesperson for the Office told by email.

She also confirmed that the members of Congress, credentialed staff and journalists and U.S. Capitol Police personnel are eligible for the cost-free shots during the partial government shutdown.

According to a “Contingency Staffing Plan for Operations” for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, page 3, the partial government shutdown will, however, prevent the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from performing its role to protect the citizenry from influenza.

“CDC would be unable to support the annual seasonal influenza program, outbreak detection and linking across state boundaries using genetic and molecular analysis, continuous updating of disease treatment and prevention recommendations (e.g., HIV, TB, STDs, hepatitis), and technical assistance, analysis, and support to state and local partners for infectious disease surveillance,” the plan states.

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