Raznor's Rants

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Monday, October 18, 2004

Flu vaccine shortage - Bush's fault?

Kerry has blamed Bush for the lack of flu shots this season, and he's right. Flu vaccinations are an extremely important matter of public health, and the fact is we are so reliant on our providers that if one can't provide them one year, we fall into a crisis. This is a most grave error on the part of this Administration.

But if we want to be honest, instead of merely partisan, we have to admit the blame falls equally on Clinton, as well as Bush I and however far back we can go where this problem has existed. It's Bush's misfortune, not his fault, that this problem happened to surface on his watch.

So the question is what can we do about it? Kevin Drum has a good post on what appear to be various causes of our crisis, and these should be addressed as best we can. But the biggest problem appears to be that matching FDA standards for a vaccine is far too costly, considering the small profit margin and high-risk nature of producing flu vaccines.

So after another period of electoral chaos and repeated hackings into Diebold's main computer next month, what will I, as the newly elected President Raznor, do to prevent this sort of thing from occurring in the future?

What I think would be the best thing is to set public funds aside in order to fully fund (pharmaceutical company of your choice) creating plenty of vaccines to help fulfill the public need. There are probably problems in the details that I and my all-blogger Cabinet will need to deal with, but I think this general plan will work.

But as a side note, President Bush said during the last debate that he will not be getting a flu shot this year. This was supposed to convey a nice little "I'm in the same boat as you America" but it occurred to me earlier today that this is either an outright lie or just stupid. Don't get me wrong, I dislike Bush as much as the next guy (as long as the next guy really dislikes Bush) but shouldn't the President, as the most important person in the country, be the first person to be given a flu vaccine? I mean, the President is a man who can't go out in public without snipers being set up in various places, you'd think that with that level of security, a flu shot, even during a shortage, should be a no-brainer.

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