- The Hill:
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) on Thursday penned a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius demanding an explanation of reports that Wall St. firms received many doses of the swine flu vaccine.
And you thought it was just the Calgary Flames.
Allowing the NHL's Calgary Flames players and families to get H1N1 flu shots early has cost an Alberta Health Services manager his job, officials said.
Hey, I love the (world champion) Yankees, but kids go first. NBC's Robert Bazell (11/5, story 7, 2:35, Williams) notes that Wall Street firms have high risk patients and must sign an agreement to give their vaccine only to them until released to the health department
Meanwhile, Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner, said, "Employers are required to sign an agreement that said they're vaccinating people at high risk. And whether those people at high risk are working for one type of company versus another type of company is a judgment we're not going to make."
but the public isn't buying it. More:
The Service Employees International Union was more harsh in its criticism.
"It's bad enough that Wall Street crashed our economy. But purposely endangering the health of millions of Americans during a public health crisis crosses all lines of decency," the union said in a statement.
Even if warranted (asthmatics and pregnant women who often don't go to doctors work on Wall Street, and not everyone on Wall Street is a rich broker — there are plenty of secretaries, data entry clerks and office cleaners), this distribution plan is about as tone deaf as it comes. Wall Street has to be lower than any other group right now in public esteem and trust. The best intent from public health may have been benign, but this is what happens when you have a lack of transparency and a Rube Goldberg vax distribution system that has to recruit unlikely people aka lack of "public health infrastructure".
Update [2009-11-6 12:51:15 by DemFromCT]: As long as it goes to high risk groups, I don't care who is distributing the vaccine. But if you are a high profile Wall Street firm, be prepared to justify what kind of groups you give it to and where it goes. Any unused vaccine needs to be returned to DOH/DPH as part of the program.
- Book 'em, Danno!:
Milwaukee police have arrested a man accused of stealing a truck carrying 900 doses of swine flu vaccine.
The suspect is a 38-year-old man with a criminal record. Police are looking for two other men who were seen in the vehicle with him.
- Hey, get in line like everyone else.
Concern appears to be rising at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about people in lower risk groups cutting in line to receive the limited supplies of H1N1 vaccine. A letter sent today from CDC Director Thomas Frieden to state and local health officers urges that the 35.6 million doses of the vaccine now available first go to people at the highest risk of developing severe disease from the pandemic virus. Although the letter does not detail any specific problems, it pointedly says, "vaccine distribution decisions that appear to direct vaccine to people outside the identified priority groups have the potential to undermine the credibility of the program."
- Forget mandatory vaccine for health care workers.
Efforts to require flu shots for health workers in order to protect vulnerable patients are being abandoned by some major health systems because of legal challenges and vaccine shortages.
- If you won't take swine flu seriously for yourself, do it for your cat.
The unusual case has riveted pet owners and health officials. Companion animals have been known to contract flu from other species — canine influenza (H3N8) originated in horses, and cats contract avian influenza (H5N1) from eating birds. But this appears to be the first time a cat has contracted influenza from a human. Two pet ferrets, one in Oregon and one in Nebraska, have also tested positive for H1N1, and the virus has also been transmitted between humans and pigs.
A CDC Q&A on pets is at the end of this link.
- Great read from Helen Branswell:
Flu dogma being rewritten by a strange virus no one pegged to trigger a pandemic
- First Glenn Beck, and now this:
The American Future Fund, an Iowa-based conservative interest group, will launch ads tomorrow that seek to link the Obama Administration's handling of the H1N1 flu with broader questions about the viability of a public option being included in a health care overhaul.
The ad begins by noting that in July the Obama Administration promised 120 million H1N1 vaccines would be available by October but only 27 million actually were ready at that time. "Children, pregnant women, seniors line up for nothing," says the ad's narrator before adding that the government had planned to give vaccines to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. (The White House on Thursday denied talk that Gitmo prisoners were being vaccinated before the general public.)
"If the government can't run a flu program can we trust them to run America's entire health care system?" asks the narrator at the ad's conclusion.
Actually, the private sector is responsible for flu vaccine manufacture, and the Feds are distributing vaccine much more fairly than "the biggest purchaser gets the vaccine", which is usually what happens. Or that 2009 H1N1 doesn't include seniors in the high risk group. And that flu vax takes six months to manufacture, and it's now six months almost to the day after 2009 H1N1 was first described in April. But don't tell conservatives who believe in death panels that the real culprit is viral evolution, which is why we are all susceptible to this flu bug.
- My flu interview (with CDC) on Momlogic
- In response to a Washington Times editorial entitled "The myth of preventive care", Ken Thorpe defends preventative care as a cost-cutter.
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