Thursday, July 30, 2009

Flu WHO?

I'm a little surprised at the muted, if any, outrage from the right about this:

A complicated list of who should get pandemic flu vaccine in the fall is now set. When the vaccine starts arriving in September, first in line will be pregnant women; the caretakers of infants; children and young adults; older people with chronic illness; and health-care workers.

That's the advice of a 15-member committee of experts, which met all day Wednesday at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to advise the federal government on vaccine policy.

The priority list names targeted groups and suggests the order in which they should be vaccinated. While acknowledging the potential for confusion, the committee chose the strategy because of the possibility that the epidemic will be peaking within four to six weeks of when the vaccine becomes available.

This crisis has the confluence of a no-win situation for the Obama team, which is why I was certain this would be a softball for the right wing nutbags to tackle.
Think about it: An insufficient vaccine availability (Obama's Katrina) forces the government to ration health care (socialized medicine) which favors the poor, the ill, and women (welfare) over a crisis that hasn't begun to truly impact the United States (UN domination of US sovereignty) so why are we spending so much time and money and exerting such energy over a non-existent crisis (global climate change)?
I mean, damn, throw a birth certificate angle in there, and you have a feast for Republizombies!
There have been a million swine flu cases already diagnosed in the United States with just over 300 deaths reported and it's still the summer and far from flu season. The production schedule for vaccines has about 40 million doses being delivered in September, 80 million more in October, with another 80 million by the end of the year.
Argentina reports 100,000 cases in the middle of their winter, with at least 50 confirmed deaths. Argentina's population is roughly 1/8 the size of America's, so you do the math.
In other words, in the middle of our summer, hardly flu season, we've paced the outbreak of one of the worst outbreaks in the Southern Hemisphere winter. And that's after Argentina all but shut down for a week: businesses closed, travel was discouraged, and people were encouraged to remain at home.
Quarantine, in other words.
Once schools reopen in the fall, we can expect a tremendous spike in the number of cases, and we clearly will not have enough vaccine to get to school kids right away, particularly as this strain of flu seems to hit young people much harder than people over 18 (24 is the priority age for the vaccine, to inoculate college students).