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"We are facing a potential public health disaster."

This isn't campaign rhetoric. It's commentary on the flu-vaccine shortage by Dr. Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania that's on MSNBC.com today. (read it here)

In addition to his observations on the seriousness of the crisis and the growing problems of distributing the tiny amounts of existing vaccine (transplant patients begging for protection, while black-market vaccine peddlers try to sell theirs for $800 a shot), Dr. Caplan also comments on the Bush Administration's insane reaction to the shortage:

The Bush administration has also suggested Canada as one possible source for extra vaccine. But the degree of hypocrisy in turning to the north for vaccine -- when the president and his health officials have been bellowing all summer that drugs from Canada are not safe -- is impressive. And it is not clear that our neighbors over the border will come through.

just a bit more below

In the closing days of this election, this article and the information it contains are a must-read. The Bush Administration -- through lack of foresight, lack of planning and misplaced priorities -- has created a public health crisis.

The nation now knows it exists. We need to make sure they know why.

Originally posted to Montco PA for Kerry on Thu Oct 21, 2004 at 12:11 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Untrue (none)
    No flu vaccine shortage....on MSNBC now they just showed over 1100 Texas inmates receiving the flu shot...people in Texas are pissed....hmmm maybe the rethugs are trading flu shots for votes....or maybe that isn't the flu vaccine they are giving them....
  •  The Only Nation (none)
    It's telling that we are the only nation with a shortage of flu vaccine. Given the same market conditions and information, England, Canada, France and the rest of the western world were able to adjust and get adequate supplies. Only in the US, where the government refuses to get involved (with the exception of price fixing to guarantee companies profits) do we have this problem.
    •  What the free market fairy (none)
      didn't keep us safe?  Surely this is merely a short-term aberration because we all know that socialized medicine is an evil and scourge that would undermine the "best health care system in the world" if we fall for this ruse that they have adequate flu vaccine.
      •  Tort Reform (none)
        Yeah, that's it. Nobody would make the vaccine unless we pass tort reform. Never mind the fact that, as I mentioned, no other country is facing this problem. In some way, I suspect the drug companies had a hand in this shortage in order to get a drug-friendly tort-reform bill passed.

        So, they get price fixing and lawsuit protection. The Free market fairy is pretty well chained is this country.

  •  Amazing (none)
    Why do flu germs hate America?

    They're freedom haters. We're freedom lovers. Don't tell Canada. - David Cross

    by noshenanigans on Thu Oct 21, 2004 at 12:17:43 PM PDT

  •  Harper's (none)
    Fabulous cover story about this a few months ago.

    http://www.harpers.org/WeAreNotImmune.html

    Check it out if you haven't read it:

    Today, we are no better prepared for a SARS epidemic than we were last year. "Homeland security," curiously interpreted to exclude the most plausible and deadly threats facing our population, has remained the priority. The massive smallpox immunization program in 2002 was little more than a distraction and waste of precious funds. Meanwhile, we are afflicted with a government that has waged war all across the world to avenge the deaths of 3,000 terror victims, far fewer than die of influenza in a mild year; a government that insists on spending $50 billion to build a missile-defense system that does not work, a military-industrial make-work project designed to meet a threat that does not exist. The war in Iraq consumes almost $4 billion a month, twice the amount we have largely squandered on bioterrorism since 2001. We have grown so foolish and so incompetent that perhaps we do not deserve to survive. Perhaps it is simply time to die.
  •  nice (none)
    can we get this all over yahoo and cnn?

    does someone have the email list of all of the prominent newscasters/news offices?

  •  I'm skipping my shot, but I'd be happier if... (none)
    As this article suggests, I'm skipping my flu shot because I'm not in a high-risk group. But I'd be a lot happier if I could be sure that the shot I'm giving up were going to someone in the high-risk group, rather than some college student or prison inmate or someone willing to pay some exploiter $800. In this free-for-all atmosphere that has been created, we get a situation where the good guys who consider other people lose out and the people who are willing to do anything to get a shot win. This is where we need the government to step in and enforce some sort of reasonable allocation scheme.
  •  Recommend This Diary (none)
    Recommend this up - Caplan's opinion on this is significant and he has the high profile to get some attention.

    This is bad.  And the press is not doing their job.

    Good find.

    •  Thanks (none)
      Obviously, I think it's hugely important too.

      I don't push my own diaries on the main message board, but in this case I think it points to something that should get wide play. Any mention you could make might help....

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