Thursday, November 5, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccine Distribution: A Disorganized Mess

NBC’s Today Show reported this morning that some Wall Street firms (some being described as “influential firms”) have access to the swine flu vaccine, while many hospitals and doctors’ offices are still waiting to receive their supply to treat high-risk people. (The video of the news story is below.) With near panic setting in with people who are either in the high-risk category themselves, or for those who have children in the high-risk category, this is not welcome news.

I know that many businesses make traditional flu shots available to their employees, but this case with the swine flu vaccine highlights the inequality of how crucial vaccines may be doled out. My opinion is that any vaccine – swine flu or not – should be made available to hospitals, doctors’ offices, or other medical organizations and institutions first, and then when that demand is satisfied, the vaccine can be made available to other organizations as needed.

With continued reports of there not being enough vaccine to go around to high risk people, it is appalling that somehow Wall Street firms and banks have found a way to move themselves up the list. It’s bad enough that some of these same companies were partly to blame for the recent economic collapse and needed to be bailed out financially, but now they want to take a vaccine away from a more deserving child or pregnant woman? It’s greed at its worst. Those vaccines should be immediately pulled from their use.

I’ve come to the conclusion that if there ever was a virus that threatened all of humanity, if we respond in this same slow and disorganized manner, we may very well be doomed. It’s time to bring some organization, and some fairness, to the vaccine process. How about something simple – hospitals, doctors, and medical institutions get the supply first, with the highest priority?

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