A Tale Of Two Flus

flu

The director of the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases announced a few weeks ago that there was going to be a shortage of swine flu vaccine doses for the general population of the USA:

Earlier this month, the government was forced to announce that only about 28 million doses would be available by the end of this month, about 30 percent below the 40 million it had previously predicted.

But the October shortfall was not the first. Indeed, since the outbreak of the H1N1 swine flu occurred in April, federal projections have been consistently and wildly overoptimistic and have had to be ratcheted down several times. As recently as late July, the government was predicting having 160 million doses by this month.

From the lack of coverage this has received by the various state run media, it makes me believe that this isn’t much of a big deal. Unlike a few years back when the Bush administration didn’t get enough vaccines for the common flu:

Democrats have seized on the vaccine shortage to accuse the administration of being unable to protect Americans — from either illness or terrorism. ”If you can’t get flu vaccines to Americans, how are you going to protect them against bioterrorism?” Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate, asked in an interview with National Public Radio. ”If you can’t get flu vaccines to Americans, what kind of health care program are you running?”

That was during the 2004 election. Kerry was trying to score points with residents of Florida (where the old folk are at!). Here’s what Kerry said one of the reasons why there wasn’t enough doses at the time:

”They relied on foreign workers to make the vaccine. A company with a bad track record. Now we’re about 50 million vaccines short.”

I wonder why the Bush administration had to get foreign workers to make the flu vaccine? If only I could think of one reason…one single reason. Oh ya – in 2004, the Democrats refused to pass medical liability reform  which would have gotten rid of junk lawsuits. Since the junk lawsuits were the curse of vaccine makers, nearly every last one decided to close up shop in the US and move overseas. I suppose the vaccine makers were sick and tired of being sued over the most frivolous things.

So the US gov’t had to outsource for the flu vaccine doses to a company in Britain. When a major malfunction occured in manufacturing the vaccine, the US lost 48% of the vaccines for the flu.

What a disaster. The US only had 60 million doses of the vaccine, not the 84 million it should have had. The state run media went ballistic. And as John Kerry said above, “”If you can’t get flu vaccines to Americans, how are you going to protect them against bioterrorism?”

And keep in mind once again that the US had 60 million doses – for the regular ole FLU. Now let’s recap how many doses the US has for the swine flu:

…was forced to announce that only about 28 million doses would be available by the end of this month

As of today though, there are only a little over 11 million doses.

Let’s just put aside the fact that Bush was nailed to a cross in 2004 for having 60 million doses of the flu vaccine, and that Obama is getting a free ride for having all of 11 million doses of the barnyard flu vaccine ready. And let’s not even talk about the *fact* that the barnyard flu is going to kill millions and millions of people (if it wasn’t, why is every official talking about it and the UN counting on anywhere between 7.5 and 150 million deaths).

Let’s just put all of that aside.

I’m sure there is one thing we can agree on: If the government can’t even get this swine flu thing right, how the hell is it going to properly run the entire US health care system?

Riddle me that.

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