Thursday, October 21, 2004

Declare national flu emergency

On the flu shot shortage, I think this guy has it right:

We are facing a potential public health disaster and bolder steps are needed. The federal government should declare a national emergency and so should state officials. More than 30,000 people die each year from the flu and that is when we have a lot more vaccine to go around. This season could be far worse than usual in terms of deaths.

Bush's incompetence has once again resulted in the deaths of many Americans - and many more Americans will yet die as a result of his incompetence. Bush should do the right thing, and save people's lives, but that would be political death - the only death Bush is concerned with. This flu shot shortage is yet another catastrophic fuckup on his part. When will his supporters join the rest of us in the reality-based world?

And how funny is it that the French will be saving American lives by supplying us with desperately-needed flu vaccines? Fuckin wingnuts - hatin on the Frenchies. Cowardly wingnuts. Same old story. Too cowardly to think for themselves. Too cowardly to admit their own culpability in the nation's terrible state.

And I'll let you in on a little secret. This flu shot thing might blow wide open any day now. The Bushies can deny all day long that there's a problem - but that won't make the problem go away.

And how bizarre is this story?

WASHINGTON -- The organizers of Get Healthy Florida were all prepared to launch their annual free flu-shot clinic in Orlando yesterday when they discovered that the vaccine they were about to give out came from a Canadian supplier.

The organizers were unfamiliar with the manufacturer and were told that the vaccine, produced by ID Biomedical, hadn't been officially approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and couldn't be administered.

So yesterday's clinic was cancelled, as were several others planned by the group, and 30,000 Floridians were left in limbo.

Ironically, the U.S. government is simultaneously negotiating with the same Vancouver-based vaccine supplier to provide an emergency supply of as many as 1.2 million doses.

Ironic? In-fuckin-deed!

Let me help out Bush fans. Bush has banned Americans from buying Canadian drugs. It is against the law. He's banned state/local/municipal government agencies from buying Canadian drugs. It is against the law. But he reserves the right for the federal government to buy Canadian drugs. You can't buy them, but your government can. Sounds like a fair, open, capitalist trade policy, doesn't it? I mean, that is what Republicans stand for, right? Protecting American from themselves and all that? Good. Next thing you know, Democrats will be calling for the invasion of North Korea.

And what of Canadian drugs being unsafe? Well, Bush's flip-flopping this time may actually save lives that he put at risk. Good job, kid.

I'm tellin ya, I would love to be at peace with the notion that Bush's policies were just breathtakingly boneheaded, but they are so terribly tragic - it's tough to laugh this one off.

Why is the Bush Administration responsible for the flu emergency? Read:

But it's also true that the Bush administration received warnings that all was not well with Chiron's Liverpool plant last year and then again this past summer. When Britain got this news, it started making contingency plans. When the U.S. got the news, it listened to the rosy scenarios of Chiron and apparently was caught flatfooted when all the vaccine turned out to be contaminated.

The Bushies were warned twice! Unreal, these guys. Faith-based presidency.

Not buying into the hype that this flu shot thing is a big deal? Then just Google yourself up some headlines. Here's a sampling of results on the Google News search with keyword 'flu' as of 10:15 am, Thursday, October 21, 2004. I've listed out the URL's to give you an idea of the breadth of the epidemic:

Vancouver sets up flu-shot clinic for Americans

Canadians first for flu shots: PM CBC News

Vancouver holds flu shot clinic for desperate Americans

Douglas urges importing flu drug from Canada

US Physicians Believe Flu Vaccine Shortage is Crisis Situation ...

Anacortes man dies following heart attack in flu-shot line

Flu Shot Line Turns Unhealthy

Private Doctors in Frantic Quest for Flu Vaccine

Flu-shot clinics demand proof of need

Flu panic: Seniors told to be patient

Flu vaccine should be saved for neediest,1413,36~417~2481116,00.html

NJ Town Employs "Flu Lottery"

Flu shots all but gone

Lack of flu shots impacts students

Ontario won't provide flu shots for Americans

Schools hope for mild flu season

Vaccine Shortages Need to be Better Anticipated

Shortage gives flu-shot seekers a big dose of reality


Texas to sue distributors of flu vaccine over prices

Congress, Agencies Rethink Flu Shots

Docs flouting flu rule will face a fine mess

State gets quarter of requested flu vaccine

Flu troubles a symptom of what ails US

Concerns Continue Over Area Flu Shortage

A month or so ago we wrote about non-terrorism-related events being more dangerous to Americans because they are infinitely more likely to happen. Found an opinion piece that concludes:

Instead of spending all its vaccine money on the production of all but useless bioterror vaccines, the government, through a more prudent flu subsidy, could increase the availability of a vaccine that might actually save lives.

Our government should be producing flu vaccine instead of Anthrax vaccine. It would be money well spent because you are actually somewhat likely to get the flu if you are an American, whereas you are extremely unlikely to be attacked via bioterror/anthrax/etc.

This article says the flu thing is a political yawner, but it does have a funny Cheney quote tying the flu vaccine shortage to tort reform:

Cheney, meanwhile, connected the vaccine problem to legal reform, an issue he has used against former trial lawyer and Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards. Cheney said the production of vaccine is not very profitable and is hampered by concerns over medical liability.

"We obviously are going to have to ... deal with medical liability reform before we'll find people willing to step up and take the risk of producing these kinds of products for the U.S. market," Cheney said.

Here, in 'reality world', we are not sure what logic Cheney is using to tie the flu shortage to tort reform, but you can always count on this Administration for a good chuckle when the chips are down.

Chiron, the one-time maker of the flu vaccine, has hired some lawyers.

Who doesn't believe it's a big deal? Oh - the Bushies:

While federal officials attempted to calm fears Tuesday about the national flu vaccine shortage, local health providers said they are considering drastic measures to ensure public health -- including reserving influenza shots for health workers or traveling to Canada to buy the vaccine.

Flanked by top U.S. health officials at a news conference in Washington, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson sought to quiet critics -- including Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry -- who have called the administration's handling of the crisis poor.

"We do have the ability to deal with the coming flu season," Thompson said. "We need, all of us, to take a deep breath."


But local health officials remained skeptical.

"It's not enough, it's just not enough," said Dr. Anthony Iton, Alameda County's public health officer.

The county is meeting with hospitals and other health care providers Friday to discuss a possible new strategy -- reserv ing any vaccine the county receives for health care workers.

"It's pointless to keep saying, high risk, high risk," Iton said. "We have to think about a fall-back strategy -- we have to make sure our health care sys tem is robust."

No problem. Nothing to see here. Move along. Tommy Thompson trying damage control - not a pretty site.

Listen, there are pages and pages of articles on the flu emergency. We're talking hundreds, thousands of articles. This is yet another major fuckup by the Bushies.

Worst. President. Ever.

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