Two Pinocchios For The White House Vaccine Statistics

Yesterday Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post awarded two Pinocchios to the White House for their comments on how the sequester would affect children’s vaccines.

The article quotes Congressional testimony from March 5:

Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.): “Let me get it straight. Under the president’s cut of $58 million to the [Section] 317 program, you think you could get around that to avoid cutting vaccines to children, but under a sequester, that the president blames on Republicans, you don’t know if you can do that?”

CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden: “We’re going to do everything we can to limit any damage that occurs because of the across-the-board cut, but it reduces our flexibility significantly.”

Harris: “Is it your testimony that under the president’s proposed cut of $58 million in his budget to the 317 program you could have avoided cuts to vaccines to children in Maryland?”

Frieden: “We believe that we could have maintained vaccination levels, yes.”

Well, let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good story. Please follow the link above to read the details of the fuzzy math and issues involved in children’s vaccines and the sequester.

The article concludes:

Still, even before the sequester, the administration had sought to reduce costs by ending shots for children who have insurance–on the grounds that the president’s own health-care law was creating new avenues to obtaining vaccinations. Many families might have been dissuaded from getting vaccinations because of the higher costs involved. What are those numbers? That’s still unclear.

The administration’s vaccination statistics earn Two Pinocchios.

I would have given them at least three.


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