Jessica Mondillo’s Blog

Bennie Thompson Criticized for NASCAR Immunization Comment

October 11, 2007 

I just found this story on CNN and I thought it was a little weird.  Democrat Representative Bennie Thompson told his aides that they should get immunizations before going to a NASCAR race.

Now this advice pertaining to a NASCAR race would make sense if it was the flu vaccine.  After all NASCAR is the most popular sport in the country and it only takes one person to get everyone sick.  But according to CNNs Political Ticker, Thompson “advised aides to get immunized against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, tetanus, diphtheria, and influenza before heading to the NASCAR event.”  Maybe it’s just me but that seems a little extreme.  I’ll admit Americans do have a lot of different types of colds and flus, especially as the winter sets in but diphtheria and hepatitis are what Thompson is worried about?

Thompson did get quoted as saying, “Since committee staff members are visiting hospital and other health-care facilities available at or near these venues, including areas where groups of people are detained before being transferred to other off-site facilities, I believe that the recommendation (not requirement) that our congressional staff receive these same immunizations was sound.”  I would like to note that his original comment did refer to NASCAR not a hospital.

Despite all the controversy over Thompson’s comment which can be seen as prejudice, something worries me about his comment.  Bennie Thompson is chairman of the Homeland Security Committee for the House of Representatives.  Is it possible that there is some other reason he was recommending these vaccinations?  Being in the Homeland Security Committee, would Thompson have classified information and would he be worried about attacks in the US in the form of disease at large scale events (like NASCAR the most popular sport in the US)?

I just thought that was an interesting piece of news that might interest somebody other than me.


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