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View Diary: Health Care Friday (220 comments)

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  •  The Feds don't own vaccine production facilities. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geekesque, Satya1

    Private companies manufacture to order, then deliver to the gov't, who then redistributes to the states based on an algorithm primarily on population.

    Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

    by Ezekial 23 20 on Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 08:33:55 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Feds run it. It is a Federal program. (0+ / 0-)

      Contracting production out and having paid for that production, Sebelius should have known about the production problem sooner and dealt with it vs just letting things roll along to the point that Wall Street Banks get vaccine while kids and pregnant mothers a few blocks away do not.

      •  And done what? Wave a magic wand? (5+ / 0-)

        Even knowing that production is going slower than you want doesn't imply you can actually do anything about it.

        There are a very limited number of producers of vaccines around the world, and every freaking country is in need of both this and the seasonal vaccines.  Thanks to the magic of free market capitalism, there is generally only enough production capability in existence for the seasonal, because excess production capability beyond demand isn't profitable.

        So despite a sudden need there isn't magically more production capacity.  And there is nothing the federal gov't can do to magically make it so.  They could indeed set up their own facilities, but it takes a year or two to build the facilities, recruit and train staff, etc, even if you ignore the cries of 'socialism'.  We don't have that time, so we're stuck with using what existing facilities give us.

        I hate the pony phrase, but you're indulging in magical thinking here.

        Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

        by Ezekial 23 20 on Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 08:48:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Done their job. Notify public. Have a plan. (0+ / 0-)

          Sebelius and Napalitano were surprised by lack of vaccine when it is their responsibility to produce and distribute it.

          Had this been a real national disaster, a true pandemic or biological attack, it is clear both Sebelius and Napalitano would have been even more of a liability.

          1. They should have announced shortage vs. shortage surprising them.
          1. They should have announced revised distribution plans based on shortage and made it happen at every level.

          That didn't happen. They are in charge. They should take responsibility and resign or be fired.

          •  You need to focus on the Roosters (0+ / 0-)

            One major problem in the production of the H1N1 vaccine is that the product is grown in fertilized eggs.  To fertilize an egg, you need a rooster.  The vaccine production system depends on a small group of specialized chicken farmers who contract to produce a given supply of fertilized eggs -- last spring, they had met their contracts for the production of the seasonal flu vaccine, and that was before H1N1 was identified, and decisions were made to produce a massive batch of H1N1 vaccine.  

            Because the eggs produced for the food markets are not fertilized, the need for maintaining the roosters after they had produced the first batch of fertilized eggs was not there.  The Chicken Farmers who produce these specialized eggs have contracts with soup factories that use the roosters after they have done their (cock-a-doodle-do) thing.  No reason to keep feeding the Roosters expensive corn just in case they need to get back to work.  

            The upshot was that about two weeks in the production process was lost, once a decision to make a mass batch of vaccine was made.  It was lost because they had to round up more roosters so as to produce fertilized eggs for the H1N1 production.  

            Once you understand this, and comprehend how the essentially economic decision to not feed roosters after they have performed their task, is an element in the whole production process, then at least one of the reasons vaccine output has been slower than anticipated will be clear.  The importance of getting cellular based production systems (2 years off at minimum) up and running should be clear.  Until that point, vaccine production is dependent on Mother Nature, and the economic interest of Chicken Farmers to keep elements of this part of the production system up and running.

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