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This week on Meet the Press, Tim Russert pressed his guests, NIH's Dr. Anthony Fauci, the CDC's director, Dr. Julie Gerberding, Health & Human Services Sec. Michael Leavitt & the World Health Organization's Dr. Michael Ryan to answer this question, first directed to Sec'y Leavitt:

MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Secretary, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's been doing a lot of reporting on this and they wrote this article, "Are we prepared?" "If the flu were to strike before vaccines were available for everyone, who would get them? The Health and Human Services Department"--that's your department--"has come up with a list. Health-care workers and people who make the vaccine come first. These two groups would require about 10 million doses. Then come the groups considered high-risk, people older than 65 with one or more conditions that make them susceptible to influenza, as well as those of any age whose immune systems are compromised. These groups account for approximately 25 million doses. Curiously, school-age children are at the bottom of the government's list--outranked by politicians, funeral directors and telecommunication workers."

Why is that?

Not suprisingly Sec'y Leavitt tied himself in a knot and avoided the question with a series of non-answers.

I first want to make certain that we're clear that we will not have the capacity to produce 300 million doses of a vaccine for three to five years. And as Dr. Gerberding indicates, when we have developed that capacity we hope to be able to do that within a six-month period once we've isolated the actual virus that we're battling. In the meantime, we will not have enough for everyone. And consequently, very difficult, agonizingly tough decisions will need to be made, and so the plan actually develops a series, using outside panels of those who are involved in medical ethics and so forth, to say, "Here's how we would recommend it."

So, basically he's saying that there wouldn't be enough vaccine available to even choose whether or not to vaccinate the children. Slick.

Finally, Dr. Fauci gets a to the heart of the matter.

Now, getting back to your question about the children, that's a complicated issue because, obviously, you hear--saying, "Well, if you put children at the bottom of the list"--the model upon which the idea of vaccinating children in order--because they're the conduits of infecting elderly individuals--is based on a model in which you have much, much broader numbers of vaccine available for a lot more people. When you're dealing with how you respond to an epidemic and what do you want to keep in place to allow the responsiveness to ultimately get to all of the citizens, including the children, you have to have people to make the vaccine. You have to have the health-care workers that come into the emergency room or the hospital. So I think it's a little bit misleading to pit children, and which you obviously want to keep well and healthy, with someone who's gonna be making a vaccine or a health-care worker. But in the best of all worlds, all of those people would be vaccinated, but the critical issue when you're faced with the challenge of having to move fast and respond for everyone, you need the essential people to get up in the morning and go to work; otherwise, nobody's gonna get a vaccine.

Stunning isn't it? What these people are saying is essentially that children, not being among the members of our society that contribute, i.e., "get up in the morning and go to work," are therefore expendable. Now of course, his general point that health care workers and first responders must get the vaccine first is rational, but it does not justify placing children last on the list. The coldness of this plan is stunning, and reveals a commodification of our humanity that is often more slickly packaged and sold to us in shiny wrapping. We are only as good as our market value, and we will be sorted accordingly when the time comes. So, my question to the DKos community is this. Who will stand with the children when the time comes?

Originally posted to valleycat on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:12 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  That is unconscienable (none)
    Leavitt and Fauci should be held to account for their position on this issue.

    A foolish consistency (staying the course in Iraq) is the hobgoblin of George W. Bush.

    by wildcat6 on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:11:09 PM PST

    •  I say this again downthread, but.... (none)
      you really need to re-read this quote again.

      But in the best of all worlds, all of those people would be vaccinated, but the critical issue when you're faced with the challenge of having to move fast and respond for everyone, you need the essential people to get up in the morning and go to work; otherwise, nobody's gonna get a vaccine.
      --emphasis added

      What they're trying to say is that they need the essential hospital and healthcare workers to get up in the morning, and go to work; otherwise, nobody's gonna get a vaccine, because there won't be anyone there to administer the vaccines.

      If the healthcare system is crippled by the flu, then we are well and truly fucked. I can't stress that any harder.

      Check out ePM's great new tool: Timelines!

      by Timroff on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:01:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agree ... (none)
        That emergency workers and vaccine production personnel (although not the PR staff) should be near first in line for vaccine.  Okay, while I despise him, understand Georgie near top of list (but NOT Jenna or Barbara (Grandma or daughter).  

        But, please explain elderly prior to children.  Yes, I understand that elderly are more at risk but let us take 'expected value'.

        If someone at 70, with a life expectancy of 10 years, is at 70 percent chance risk of dying, you could say that 'expected value' of vaccine would be roughly 7 years of human life.

        If someone at age 10, with perhaps 65 years of life expectancy, is at 40 percent chance of dying, then the vaccine has an expected value of roughly 26 years of human life.

        Seems to me that "elderly" should not automatically be assumed to be appropriate to be 'first in line' before 'youth' when we move from specific categories to 'general population'.

        The problem will be that everyone will fight to be in a 'protected category' such that everything will be gone well before we reach the point of protecting the 'general' population.

        9/11/05, Day 1469, A count worth keeping? Or, Osama Bin Forgotten?

        by besieged by bush on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 03:15:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I realize (none)
          the debate here is the "when" the kids get the vaccine.

          As noted many places here and elsewhere (the flu wiki is a good place to start) kids are not considered as needing the vaccine as strongly as the elderly, people in emergency and critical support/first responder/healthcare careers. It's also thought that kids, generally, have better immune systems and can fight off things like the flu, even the more virulent avian form, better than adults, especially the elderly.

          I'm not saying kids shouldn't get the vaccine. On the contrary, I think it important that children with special health needs should get the vaccine before the eldrly etc., get it. But I, as a future parent, would far prefer my healthy mother and father and healthy wife to get vaccinated before my healthy child gets it, for the simple fact that if my child gets sick, I can care for him. If my child is sick, I can still provide the things that she needs. But if I am sick, if my wife and I are both laid low, can I really expect my preschooler to make dinner, much less have him clean up after our bouts with sickness? Can I expect my second grader to go to work for me in order to keep the paychecks coming in so I can afford to give my family at least minimal health care since my company refuses to provide decent coverage?  

          I think that those are some of the questions we need to consider, that's all.

          Check out ePM's great new tool: Timelines!

          by Timroff on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 06:00:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Adore the fetus... (none)
    hate the child.

    "An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it." -Mohandas Gandhi

    by Bulldawg on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:14:55 PM PST

  •  sick bastards (none)
    what more can be said. They simply must have traded in their consciences for more share in Tamiflu stock.

    When you're going through hell, keep going. -- Winston Churchill

    by valleycat on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:17:15 PM PST

  •  children are most likely to survive (4.00)
    Moreover, children are least needed for a functioning society.  Sad but true.  If there's a real, 1917-like influenza epidemic, we'll need all the funeral directors and telecommunications workers we can, so they SHOULD outrank children.  Unless the idea of bodies rotting in the street because the funeral directors are dead appeals to you.

    And I'm saying this as a parent. Bird flu scares the shit out of me.  But I realize that my children are more likely to survive than most adults, and my children don't keep society functioning if, say, 10% of the population dies in the span of a few months.

    "The American people want someone to articulate their rage for them"
    -Diana (Faye Dunaway), in "Network"

    by Leggy Starlitz on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:18:42 PM PST

    •  Sad.. (4.00)
      ...but I'm with Leggy

      Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us. -- P. J. O'Rourke

      by floundericiousMI on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:20:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  definitely sad (4.00)
        Last week, I was reading about the implications of a flu pandemic online, looked at my daughter, and started crying.

        But we have to hold society together, even in a pandemic, or the losses will be even worse. And that means there are adults who are more valuable than children.  Health care workers, funeral workers, communications workers, poli... well, not politicians.  They can go fucking last.

        "The American people want someone to articulate their rage for them"
        -Diana (Faye Dunaway), in "Network"

        by Leggy Starlitz on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:24:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Gotta agree... (none)
      It is cold, but that is what's necessary when planning for a pandemic. These decisions have to be made. I can't blame people for making them with an eye to our society functioning through the crisis. Hell, I probably rank just above a child on the list. I can (hopefully) live with that.

      The source of your outrage should be directed at those who got us into this situation in the first place. Big Pharma knows that flu vaccine production is unprofitable. It costs a heck of a lot of bank to produce a vaccine with little chance of profit, and that's IF they actually picked the right flu virus.

      "Science is defined by how you ask the question, not the question you ask."

      by themis on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:28:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I hate to say it (none)
      but I have to agree with this.  Although as a lawyer, I should probably be at the bottom of the list...and I should definitely be behind my daughter (who is 2).

      Q: Is it ignorance or apathy? A: I don't know and I don't care. [-4.25, -5.33]

      by GTPinNJ on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:35:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  But I wonder about the priority... (none)
      ...for those over 65 with conditions making them more susceptible to the flu.

      I've got blisters on my fingers!

      by Elwood Dowd on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:39:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually (none)
      Im not sure where I saw this but apparently the folks  who have healthy immune systems-young adults and kids are more vulnerable to the bird flu. Its something to do with the immune system going into overdrive-so I have to wonder why they would immunize those over 65 instead? Doesnt make sense.
    •  this is not necessarily true (none)
      The mortality rate among those under 15 who contracted avian flu is quite high -- approaching 90% if my memory serves me.  Much higher, in any case, than for healthy adults.  (According to an NEJM article from earlier this year for which I, unfortunately, don't have the citation at hand).

      This diary troubles me greatly as I expected that children would be high on the list as their risk of death is so high.

      I understand the argument that others SHOULD outrank children ... but can't say agree ... I'm still digesting the implications.

    •  Just like cabin depressurization (none)
      Put your own mask on before assisting children.  It's necessary because you can save your children but they can't save you.  In the worst-case bird flu scenarios, we face societal collapse - and everybody will stave, everybody will run out of water, nobody will be able to communicate, etc.  When society is strong, you take care of the weakest first, but when the existence of the society we depend on is in question, you have to keep it going or we (almost) all die.
  •  I met Dr. Fauci. (none)
    Years ago, when one of the longest running AIDS research projects going was only a year old.  I'd been working on it when it was a pilot project, and a group of the workers were taken to coffee so he could listen to our concerns.  

    In actual fact, what I mostly remember was the woman running the study at our location was utterly astounded that I (being only the data entry person) could tell Dr. Fauci how many mistakes could be expected in a given week, and where they would come from.  But Dr. Fauci was sensible and concerned (and not at all surprised that the data entry person could answer that question).  

    I'm sure he's had a lot of practice being political since; but I find it in me to doubt that he had anything to do with setting the priorities on that list.

  •  With a 50% Mortality among Healthy Adults (none)
    Seriously, you're not grasping the true issue here. Bird Flu could be such a huge pandemic, children really are left behind.

    Present death rates is about 50% with alot, ALOT of focus on treating those who are infected.  That's among elderly, childrent, and healthy adults.  Its indescriminant.

    From that, I say that yes, Children very well may be last. Especially the youngest.  Honestly, do you want Society to fall by the wayside with 50% mortality (1 of 2 of us die) after 100% infection rate?  That's some serious numbers.  Who will rebuild?  The 100% childrent that were saved? But they're 3 and 5 and 7 and cute and all, but we'll all be dead...

    They're not trying to be calious. The scary thought is that it very well may happen this or next year, and we're ass out, ASS OUT in that event cause we have zero vacination capacity to keep up with the likely demand...

  •  yes (none)
    I saw that conversation and after I calmed down, I started thinking about it and I sort of understood the logic of it.  I also wondered, and I'm no doctor so this might make no sense at all, but I wondered if people with a compromised immune system are more likely to be the kinds of hosts that would allow the virus to mutate and become more powerful.  I wondered if vaccinating immunocompromised people might actually be an important part of, if not preventing the spread of bird flu, maybe minimizing the risk that it gets worse?
  •  what it means of course (none)
    is that wealthy, white children will be able to get the vaccine. but that middle class and poor people and most people of color will not be able to. especially those dependent upon hmo's, ppo's etc.
  •  Okay, everybody (none)
    Time to start force-feeding your kids kimchi.

    The basic division in society isn't liberals vs. conservatives, but those who believe that they should control the love lives of strangers and those who don't.

    by tempest in a d cup on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:37:45 PM PST

  •  I agree with the Doctors (none)
    Life isn't pretty, plagues are about as un-pretty as it gets for humans.  And really, that's what bird flu could shape up to be: the black plague for a new century.

    You see, the interesting thing about bird flu is that we have no immunity to it.  Zero.  Zilch.  If you want to know how bad that can be for a culture, google "american indians smallpox" and have a laugh.  60-90% of their total population succumbbed to smallpox when europeans brought it over.  Really, no shit.

    So if H5N1 mutates into something that kills, say 50% of all infected, then children are the last of our worries.  Keeping the power on, food on our tables, heat in our houses, and basic survival will be tantamount.  And to do that you need doctors, engineers, funeral directors (unless you like storing corpses in your house for extended periods), and the like.  Children will be in God's hands just like the rest of us.

    Get your head around this idea now, bird flu could be minor or it could be catastrophic.  We really just don't know, it's like a game of viral russian roullete.  We have to be prepared for different levels of response, and children are early casualties in most scenarios.

  •  Why the surprise? (none)
    Bird flu meets capitalism.  Money talks, sentimentality and cherubic looking kids... walk. Josef Mengele would be proud of their rationalization.

    "We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis D. Brandeis

    by VA6thDem on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:43:29 PM PST

  •  Some people are expendable (none)
    That's the quantitative analysis that makes death machines like the Final Solution possible.

    Kossacks: a large population of Medieval exegetes who each day grapple with the fabulistic opportunities of the early third milennium.

    by DCDemocrat on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:46:12 PM PST

  •  If It's a Choice (4.00)
    ...and who knows, maybe "liability" issues are holding up the ability to make enough vaccine...

    But if there truly is not enough to go around, the elderly should be last on the list. I say this as someone who's worked with elders for the last 12 years. If I was 80 and it was choice between me and my grandkids, it'd be a no-brainer.

    "This president believes government should be limited not in size but in effectiveness."
    --The Daily Show

    by bramish on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:49:34 PM PST

  •  Why do children get the short end of this stick? (none)
    As long as we are all acting so cold-blooded during this discussion, someone please explain to me why elderly people (those who are actually close to death already and most who are beyond the so-called productive working age years) deserve to get higher priority than our children who - if we protect them will grow up to be the next generation of workers & citizens etc?
    Why not protect the next generation who can grow up to be productive (if that's the standard justification floating around to give people priority in this doomsday scenerio) rather than preserve those who are clearly past their productivity years and are going to die soon anyway? Hmmmm? I mean if we have to choose between Junior and Grandma, many of us will choose Junior. And yes, I am disgusted that this is the tone we all seem to have adopted for the purposes of this discussion, but so be it.

    The primary difference between intelligence and stupidity is that there are limits to intelligence.

    by Realbluegrrl on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:55:49 PM PST

    •  Ok (none)
      How would YOU allocate a limited supply of medicine's in an emergency, that isn't ultimately "cold blooded"?
      •  Not sure... (none)
        I advocated for vaccinating children over the elderaly and I stated a few reasons why I thought children should take priority over the elderly in my post, however I understand that this whole line of discussion is incredibly difficult and as for finding a "perfect" plan obviously there won't be one. Junior or Grandma is just not a choice most Americans (or anyone for that matter) can stomach either way.

        The primary difference between intelligence and stupidity is that there are limits to intelligence.

        by Realbluegrrl on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:25:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think that (none)
      statistically, children are more likely to survive the illness if they get infected.  Therefore, the mortality rate may only be 35% among children, while it is nearer to 90% among the elderly.  Therefore, you save a whole lot more people if the elderly are innoculated versus children.

      BTW the numbers above were taken completely out of my ass merely for illustrative purposes.  I have no idea regarding the actual mortality rates among different groups.

      Q: Is it ignorance or apathy? A: I don't know and I don't care. [-4.25, -5.33]

      by GTPinNJ on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:00:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Okay, (none)
        based on a comment someone made upthread, my statement appears to be full of shit.  Well, I admitted I didn't really know what the hell I was talking about.  It was a complete guess, really.

        Q: Is it ignorance or apathy? A: I don't know and I don't care. [-4.25, -5.33]

        by GTPinNJ on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:13:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  My guess... (none)
      Is that the first responsibility when faced with a pandemic is to prevent as much infection as humanly possible. Unfortunately, the elderly are more prone to have conditions that lead them to both contract and transmit the virus.

      "Science is defined by how you ask the question, not the question you ask."

      by themis on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:03:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Children are carriers (none)
        Anyone who has ever worked in a day care enviornment could tell you that children are actually "carriers". Alot of times they can be asymptomatic and still spread germs to folks who then show symptoms. So I don't think it is a matter of transmission for their logic on protecting the elderly. Call it the cynic in me but I'd say it's the voting factor.
        •  Granted... (none)
          They're such cute little germ factories, aren't they? I guess I was assuming that by the time we're hit with a pandemic, most schools and daycare would be closed. That could, possibly, lessen the chance that kids would be exposed and transmit the virus.

          I'll freely admit that I'm having a very hard time wrapping my mind around all of the implications this nightmare will bring.

          "Science is defined by how you ask the question, not the question you ask."

          by themis on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:16:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Tis is why we MUST discuss these issues (none)
    These are terribly difficult and heart wrenching issues. They are as far from clear cut as we can get. We need to have a full, open, serious discussion of these issues now, before something strikes and it's much too late. Dismissing any talk of epidemic and pandemic preparedness as fear mongering is short sighted and will ultimately hurt us.
    •  that's why the plan was delayed for so long (none)
      they needed to get a message ready about the implications of rationing. Flu Wiki was set up in aticipation of trhese issues. You have to discuss them beforehand. You have to digest all of this and discuss it rationally.

      The time to do not is NOT during a pandemic... it's beforehand.

      See timroff's very sensible comments elsewhere as well, but you've hit the nail on the head here.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Tue Nov 22, 2005 at 10:07:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You really need to re-read the quote. (none)
    But in the best of all worlds, all of those people would be vaccinated, but the critical issue when you're faced with the challenge of having to move fast and respond for everyone, you need the essential people to get up in the morning and go to work; otherwise, nobody's gonna get a vaccine.
    --emphasis added

    What they're trying to say is that they need the essential hospital and healthcare workers to get up in the morning, and go to work; otherwise, nobody's gonna get a vaccine, because there won't be anyone there to administer the vaccines.

    If the healthcare system is crippled by the flu, then we are well and truly fucked. I can't stress that any harder.

    Check out ePM's great new tool: Timelines!

    by Timroff on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:59:35 PM PST

    •  Also... (none)
      I think that quote is referring to the people who make the vaccine. We don't have the capacity to make enough for everyone as it is. We sure as heck don't want those we do have dropping like flies.

      "Science is defined by how you ask the question, not the question you ask."

      by themis on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:10:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Prolife Types (none)
    only care about children in utero. Once theya re born, they become a drain on society's resorunces--via Welfare, Medicaid, public schools, etc. Look where the budget cuts were--school food programs, food stamps, etc.  Besides,if you succeed in banning the most effective birth control--hormonal and the IUD--Lots more will be born. (that was snark)

    Hypocrisy, thy name is the GOP.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:01:07 PM PST

  •  Elderly vs. children (none)
    I agree with the above poster 100%. If I had to choose which to vaccinate the person who has had an opportunity to live and impact the world for eighty years and the child who has the potential to impact the next eighty years in the future, I'd choose the child. That's just me though. Just because a child hasn't contributed much (if you don't count the joy and happiness they provide) doesn't mean each of their impacts couldn't be huge). How many potential Salks, Lincolns, MLKs, Susan B Anthonys are you willing to lose?
  •  Administering a vaccine (none)
    No offense, but administering vaccines just ain't that difficult. I say that as a former Navy corpsman who gave plenty of vaccines en masse.
    •  Not if you actually dont have enough of the (none)
      vaccine for everyone.

      Reigning Welterweight Female Piefighter since 1998

      by ablington on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:16:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was speaking about the actual administration (none)
        I realize there isn't enough. I just think that using the thought process of the administration of the vaccine as a reason that a certain group should be vaccinated over another really isn't good enough. However, I will say that they would be more likely to come in contact with the disease vs. the rest of us as a valid reason.
  •  Ignorance as policy (none)
    Thanks for this diary - recommended!

    Oddly enough, it's school age children who enjoy the most efficient formal disease prevention program anybody's government ever thought of. Just try getting your child into public school without a full vaccine regimen documented and up to date. My son had to suffer the entire round (plus boosters) after our house burned down and we moved to another state. Turns out that one's medical records from government health care (Navy) aren't available on request once you're out.

    When my mother was still alive (elderly and at-risk), it was everyone in the family who had to get flu shots because she was allergic to the medium used to grow the vaccine (eggs?). That included the children. Since my mother was not unique in this way, I can imagine there are quite a few medical personnel, first responders, vital industry and at-risk elderly folks who would for reasons of allergy or other reaction potential not be able to tolerate the vaccine. Is there a plan to produce several million alternative medium, non-allergenic doses? If not, we can go ahead and figure that all of those people are SOL too.

    But to be fair, school age children (and younger adults) are generally the least likely to die from a bout of flu. Which imparts immunity all by itself. But they're also the most likely to be the main thrust of the epidemic as well - we all know how fast these things spread in schools and Dilbert-cubes. Each young person who gets the flu will then infect their entire family and everyone else they come in contact with who didn't get the shot or hasn't had it already.

    I'll make my decisions about what to do when and if bird flu makes the mutational jump, AFTER I've carefully reviewed the data on who's most susceptible and who's doing the most dying. My parents' families lost way more loved ones to the 1918 pandemic than they did to WWI, and that flu seemed designed to kill the young and fit (from what they told me).

    Wouldn't it make sense for the gub'ment to decide based on that kind of data who should get the 'public' vaccine after first responders and the medical community? And wouldn't that be far less controversial a position to publicly take at this point, rather than saying you plan to sacrifice everyone's children?

    P.S. If bird flu makes the jump (not at all assured) to lethal pandemic, my plans are to bunker in until it's over. Even if that requires a sudden shift to temporary home-schooling for the grands.

  •  Last on the list (4.00)
    I think it's also important to note that the fact children are on the list at all is alot better off than most of us.

    As I read it, the far majority of adult american's who aren't in a critical profession or job, aren't on the list at all when we are talking about truly limited doses of the vaccine.

    •  excellent point (none)
      They're last on the high priority list, but they still rank above the rest of us.  

      Not that it really matters.  Between first responders, medical personnel and government officials (especially the military), I'm dubious any civilians will get access to the vaccine.  There's just too many critical jobs and too small a stockpile.

  •  Morbid thinking ... (none)
    While seeing reporting on this last night, I realized just how far things have sunk in this nation.  I actually thought about the potential that this Administration would figure out a way so that "R" would get vaccine before "D".

    Can't believe that I'm ready to type this, but I am not sure that I would put it past them to have a Red/Blue bias somewhere in the political appointees' influence on this planning...

    9/11/05, Day 1469, A count worth keeping? Or, Osama Bin Forgotten?

    by besieged by bush on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 03:23:44 PM PST

  •  Vaccinate Kids FIRST (none)
    according to this article at Slate : The Harvard study published last week, meanwhile, demonstrates why it makes more sense to vaccinate kids. The researchers confirmed that the flu spreads primarily via toddlers and school children, whose immature immune systems are easily infected and who have lousy hygiene. Kids often don't wipe their noses, wash their hands, or cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough, and they touch everything. That's why they catch the flu twice as often as and much earlier in the season than older people do. For an airborne virus, kids are the conduit of choice.

    Fortunately, though, kids are also the conduit most easily blocked. Their immune systems respond wonderfully to flu vaccine. A whopping 90 percent are successfully immunized by a flu shot, compared to the 28 percent figure for the elderly and 60 percent for middle-aged adults. Kids' 90 percent success rate has been used to set up viral roadblocks high and wide enough to increase protection for whole populations.

     It goes on to say: Following a devastating 1957 epidemic, Japan in 1963 established mandatory childhood flu immunization. By 1970 the country was vaccinating 50 percent to 85 percent of schoolchildren annually. Between that year and 1987, flu-related deaths fell 40 percent, saving 40,000 lives a year. This drop occurred even though Japan's elderly population almost doubled during that period. When the country phased out mandatory vaccinations for kids beginning in 1987, flu deaths in every age group started rising and have continued doing so ever since.

    •  this is an ongoing debate, (none)
      partially driven by amount of vaccine. Right now, not enough H5N1 vaccine to do the kids.

      We may see a shift regarding seasonal flu based on the above in the next few years.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Tue Nov 22, 2005 at 10:13:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  want a detailed discussion of this? (none)
    go tp Flu Wiki. Note that page was set up in July in anticipation of this discussion.

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Tue Nov 22, 2005 at 10:10:58 AM PST

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