Tom Daschle on vaccination: “I can’t imagine that we could do any better than ensure that every — every child is immunized”

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.