Senator Thomas Daschle: the decline of U.S. vaccination levels is a national security threat
On the occasion of National Influenza Vaccination Week, former Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle, chair of the Coalition to Stop Flu, joins us to discuss the Coalition’s mission and composition, its recent compelling report, ‘The 2022-2023 Influenza Season: Outcomes and Policy Recommendations,’ and the comprehensive legislation it has had a hand in crafting and advancing, The Influenza Act (S. 3219, H.R. 5846 – 118th Congress 2023-2024). Senator Daschle is alarmed by the decline in vaccination levels – a national security threat – combined with the spread of mis and disinformation and the urgent imperative to forge new communications capabilities to rebuild trust and confidence. Trusted messengers, new public-private partnerships, determined and collaborative leadership, additional resources, and hard work: these are essential elements for turning things around. Health equity must also be elevated as a top priority, with a special focus on the elderly, pregnant women, children, and racial and ethnic minorities. Much more work is needed to improve testing capacity and develop new antivirals for flu.