Swine flu vaccine--U.S.
scholar - 6-11-2009 at 16:36
There is a shortage of swine flu vaccine in the U.S. The flu is spreading in the population already, and 1000 Americans have died, but millions of
people who want the vaccine and who are at risk of death because of conditions which make them more vulnerable are unable to get it. The production
and distribution is behind by tens of millions of doses, compared to what was promised.
Why is the vaccine situation so bad? Because this year, for the first time, it is part of government health care. Until last year, although the
government had some involvement, private means were used for distribution. This year, both production and distribution are under government
The least expensive, most efficient way to produce the vaccine is in muliti-use vials. Perhaps you've seen the kind on TV--the syringe goes into the
little bottle and draws out a dose, and then is injected. A new needle and syringe is used for the next patient's dose, etc., until the bottle is
The government decided to have the swine flu vaccine made in single-dose quantities. This makes it more expensive, and it takes longer to
manufacture. That put the whole program behind schedule.
With respect to distribution of the vaccine, the government has screwed up badly. There are hospitals and doctors' offices that have not yet gotten
the vaccine, who have patients at high risk. But the prisoners at Guantanamo have gotten the vaccine. (Did anybody consider, that most prisoners are
not in a high risk group? How many of them are pregnant mothers?) Cuba is an ISLAND--the prisoners are not being held in conditions where they
interact with people who have the flu. Wall Street firms have gotten large quantities of vaccine, even though some hospitals have not. City Bank,
for example, got theirs. One of the financial institutions got 1000 doses of vaccine, and donated it to a local children's hospital, because they
realized the children needed it more than they did. Why didn't the sawdust-headed government officials give the vaccine to the high-priority
Obama's girls got their vaccinations.
We never had these problems with private health care. It was messed up in a single year, when the government took it over. And people are dying
because of it.
Incidentally, there will be more deaths this year from the regular, seasonal flu, because there is a shortage of seasonal flu vaccine as well. The
government ordered that the vaccine companies stop making the seasonal vaccine, so that they could spend their resources on swine flu vaccine
instead--but, not enough seasonal flu vaccine had been made. If the government had not interfered, the companies could have continued to make
seasonal flu vaccine until there was enough, AND could have started making swine flu vaccine in the cheaper, faster-to-produce multiple-use bottles,
and used the distribution channels that had worked successfully under private direction in previous years.
But, NO! The government messed it up. That is Government Tyranny U.S. Health Care.
giron - 6-11-2009 at 18:33
So the Yanks cock things up, nothing new there, eh?
Meanwhile in the UK, things are going according to plan, thanks to our marvellous NHS.
scholar - 7-11-2009 at 00:04
If the US were to have government health care, perhaps the Scotts should run it for us.
marymary100 - 7-11-2009 at 00:25
Daz - 7-11-2009 at 01:42
With such a slanted post as the OP, you'd almost think there was an agenda going on somewhere...
There of course maybe very good reasons for going down the route outlined, which despite what some view as negative points, may actually turn out to
be the better option in the long run...
Here to balance...
I'm expecting to be called in for my jab in the next few weeks, the NHS staff/GPs/frontliners have I believe had theirs now, or are in the process of
getting it now...
On a side note, some saddo has been going around a local area shoving leaflets through peoples letterboxes with scaremongering tactics and trying to
put off people from having the jab.
scholar - 7-11-2009 at 04:33
My position is that the vaccine should have been manufactured in the faster-to-produce multi-dose bottles (which is also cheaper)
so that they would not be tens of millions of doses behind in the quanties promised, with the result that large numbers of people are getting sick and
1000 people have died. Would you care to explain how that is a slanted position? Would you affirm that the contrary position, that it was a good
idea to produce single-dose packages which take longer to manufacture, with the result that many more people got sick and 1000 have died, is the
balanced, reasonable position? As far as I know, the government officials whose decision resulted in so much sickness and death are not defending
their mistake--they regret the sickness and death which resulted from their interference.
I recall a mother who died because she was unable to get the vaccine. She left behind a husband and two small children. Here last words were a plea
to her husband to somehow get the children vaccinated. She could not speak loudly enough for him to understand, so she wrote it down. Then she
Tonight's news showed a lady of 46 who contracted the swine flu and died. If she'd had the vaccine earlier, she could have lived.
No, the reason for the decision to go with
single-dose packages was because of a safe, effective ingredient which has been routinely added to bottles of vaccine for many years. There is a
conspiracy theory that the ingredient really poisons people. The people who decided to go with single-dose packages gave in to the hysteria. But,
they did not realize the deaths the delay would thereby cause.
It has really been horrible here. One clinic has had to cancel seven public vaccination days because the vaccine was not delivered to them.
The scaremongering to which you refer might be the hysteria to which
my government officials gave in.
They were worried that some people might decide not to get the vaccine, if they were persuaded the freshness-preserving ingredient was dangerous. So,
instead, tens of millions of people who want the vaccine are at risk and a thousand have died, because the government made the decision for them to
use the slower means of production.
Marymary, if you think my government made the right decision, you might ask your own doctor if he agrees with the scare-mongering about the bottled
version, or if he is only willing to work from single-dose packaging. If the NHS is as good as I often read here, they surely have the more
efficient, less costly bottled version.
marymary100 - 7-11-2009 at 08:45
Why are you expecting me to do anything about the American vaccine? I posted a link to Scott's Porage Oats to draw attention to the fact that the
Scots are the people who are born in Scotland and Scotts is a brand name. - but I agree with Daz, the OP is certainly
Although we have access to good medical services here I do not run down to my doctor at the drop of a hat, and certainly not because I have a query
about the American "service".
We are currently awaiting the results of blood tests for a family member which might have serious implications, the actual appointment being
on Monday morning. Despite the fact that my doctor is also the mother of my daughter's friend I would not abuse the friendship or the professional
relationship by contacting them out of the workplace.
John_Little - 7-11-2009 at 10:57
Liked the Marilyn Monroe reference.
marymary100 - 7-11-2009 at 12:17
There's oats and there's oats...
scholar - 7-11-2009 at 13:28
I lost track of to whom I was
responding, which was actually Daz. He made mention of intention to "get the jab," so he will have an opportunity to see if the NHS agreed with me
that multiple-dose bottles are the best way to go, or whether they went with single-dose packages. I regret my error of address.
But, Marymary, do you really think the position I took, that it is better to make choices that would result in enough vaccine being available in
advance to save the lives is slanted? I think any position which says a fair, balanced position requires no anger at the government for decisions
that resulted in deaths is in error.
How strange--I am on the side of your own NHS, which chose to make enough vaccine to have it available in time for all who need it, and am criticizing
my government for not following a similar path--and you say my post is slanted!
marymary100 - 7-11-2009 at 13:40
Clear enough now?
LSemmens - 7-11-2009 at 13:45
No problems down under! We have yet to get our jab, but that's only because we keep forgetting to ask when we see our GP. (FYI scholar they are
Daz - 7-11-2009 at 13:52
As are ours, I believe... Though I'll find out for sure, soon enough.
If it's not too late by then.
scholar - 7-11-2009 at 14:06
Of course, everyone gets individual doses. I would not expect anyone to be given
injections for four or five people!
But, is each dose packaged separately?
Separate packages are not a problem IF enough are produced so as to be ready early enough for the vaccinations to be effective before exposure to the
disease (though I would prefer the less expensive version when tax money is being spent on it). The problem in the U.S. had to do with not having
enough AND deciding to use the slower production method. If they had started earlier, or if they had more production facilities so as to be able to
produce more single dose packages in time, the expenses would have been higher, but not with the resulting sickness and death.
Redwolf5150 - 7-11-2009 at 14:18
I have to agree with the slant, too.
Hey Scholar, want some Wisconsin cheese to go with your whine?
John_Little - 7-11-2009 at 15:18
In South East London we have to wait in line and share the needles with the heroin users,
scholar - 7-11-2009 at 17:57
I would guess that no one close
to you has died from the swine flu. Surely, you would not characterize the complaint against the government for falling short by tens of millions of
doses as a whine, with a grinning smiley face, if that were so.
Have a look at Mary
died November 2. No living father is mentioned--perhaps her boys are now orphans.
When the government takes control of vaccine production and distribution and chooses the slower method, with the result that Mary Higgins could get no
protection, is it really "whine "? Or is it tyranny? If losing your life
when the government takes charge is not government tyranny, what greater harm could the government do to qualify as tyranny?
Redwolf5150 - 7-11-2009 at 20:43
Actually, Scholar, Jackie, Allie, Gabbie and I have already HAD the H1N1.
Mild cases, thankfully.
Daz - 7-11-2009 at 21:37
The smack heads would have robbed before you even got to wait in line for the jab.
marymary100 - 7-11-2009 at 21:48
Come to the utopia that is Scotland then...
scholar - 7-11-2009 at 22:14
I think I am an easy target to your provocation because I have such great compassion for people.
You showed such compassion when Sally Pfund died. Why don't you have compassion to bemoan the deaths caused by our government's intervention into
handling the flu vaccine? Don't Mary's boys deserve the same concern as
Sally's adult daughters?
Daz - 8-11-2009 at 00:34
Maybe it'd help the image you portray for yourself on here were you to show the same compassion to your Govt' and occasionally trust the decisions
they make? It sounds like all they have done in this instance is follow the UK and Oz and probably countless others... Are those countries all wrong
giron - 8-11-2009 at 00:59
Steady on Daz, it's understandable that scholar is bitter about the US government, particularly as the IRS are
after him for tax evasion!
scholar - 8-11-2009 at 01:45
From what I've read here, the UK and Austrailia each made enough vaccine, early enough, to
protect their people so that they need not die from swine flu.
The U.S. could have done so by letting private companies make and distribute the vaccine--therein lies a record of success. Or, the government could
have produced the vaccine to be ready faster by manufacturing it in multiple-dose packaging.
What DOESN'T work is to jump in and take over control of vaccine production from the private companies (so, they can't reproduce the success they
historically have), and then NOT to follow the pattern of the UK and Australia of producing enough vaccine fast enough to cover your population before
your people start dying--which, since the U.S. has such a large population, required that the vaccine be manufactured in the
faster-to-make-per-dosage-unit multiple dose bottles.
Nobody in the U.S. government is saying, "We stand by our decision, with its result that hundreds of citizens are dying, as the right decision."
Like any doctor who makes an error that kills his patient, anyone with a heart regrets that the multiple dose bottles weren't used.
If there were some great advantage to the single-dose packages, they could be made available in the future, as an alternative choice, if more
production facilities were built. But single packaging was the wrong choice this time, and hundreds of graves have proved it, with the count
continuing to grow.
I have trusted decisions my government has made. I think
defending Kuwait was a good thing. I'm glad Sadam answered for his evil deeds (though I wish the better strategy that was followed later in the war
was adopted earlier). I'm glad various steps were taken to protect the U.S. from terrorism, such as when three people were waterboarded with the
result that vital information about terrorist plots was disclosed and the attacks were prevented.
But, the decision to take a longer time to make the vaccine was wrong, and real mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters have died as a result. There
was a faster way available, and those in the government who made the decision did not take it.
Rest In Peace Mary Higgins.
Redwolf5150 - 8-11-2009 at 15:03
Once again Giron says what I'm thinking but am too compassionate to actually post.
giron - 8-11-2009 at 17:04
There's nothing better than a nice hot bowl of porage to prevent you getting the flu.
Apart from a wee dram or two, that is.
LSemmens - 9-11-2009 at 12:02
Might I suggest that Scholar enter a life of politics, he knows how to fix it all!
giron - 9-11-2009 at 12:19
Would he be able to take a pay cut from from his highly lucrative academic work?
Or is it the case that American politicians are well paid for the work they do?
Mary2 - 9-11-2009 at 13:14
Money is certainly a pleasant benefit from full time employment and unless one has a proper pension like those tea break experts, full time work it
has to be.
scholar - 12-11-2009 at 03:09
Partial shipments of swine flu vaccine (i.e. smaller amounts than promised) have become available in central Illinois. Some people line up for hours
to get vaccinated, only to be turned away when the supply runs out.
Some of it is the nasal kind--some people are not supposed to take it.
But, at least there is some.
The government Center for Disease Control had been saying about 1000 people had died in the US from swine flu. Now, they have revised the figure to
4000! They got this by a new statistical model.
Certainly, they wouldn't increase the number fourfold, which makes the government look worse in its efforts to protect people, unless they really had
reason to think the number needed to be increased.
All those mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters. . . .
LSemmens - 12-11-2009 at 11:45
How many people die on the roads each day, scholar, is that any the less tragic? Why does your government not do something about that? Or the number
who are killed by firearms users, or alcohol, or other drugs of dependence. They are trying to do the best that they can with the resources that they
DeWitch - 12-11-2009 at 13:50
I am sure all would be fine IF McCain were in charge
Daz - 12-11-2009 at 13:53
I'll take your word for it....
giron - 12-11-2009 at 13:59
Which is why it's being properly organised in the UK.
People have been prioritised according to risk and the injections are done by pre booked appointments, so there's no need for people to be needlessly
scholar - 12-11-2009 at 17:46
But, the best that they could do would have been more doses in each bottle they produced,
so as to have millions more doses ready before the disease began to spread so widely. And, if the government had kept their hands out of it, and let
private companies handle it, private companies would have chosen the fastest production methods (which are also slightly less expensive, which is
something else private companies care about).
It's worth remembering that there used to be more than twice as many companies producing vaccine, as there are now. During the Clinton
administration, the government leadership thought that the vaccine should be cheaper, so the regulations and procedures were changed to allow less
profit. Several of the private companies decided that, with the government reducing their profit, they would do better to go out of the vaccine
business (little profit) and instead produce other medical supplies (greater profit). This reduced the number of active vaccine companies to three.
If the government had not interfered, there would be more private companies producing vaccine, the limit on their profit would be competition instead
of government-induced, and there would be plenty of vaccine for everyone.
marymary100 - 12-11-2009 at 18:20
Our government in the UK had no problem getting the required amount of doses ready on time for the people who need them. Nor are people queuing up.
It's all being done in an orderly fashion. Staff at work have been assigned appointments at the local hospital. My parents and those of a similar
state of health or similar age group have all been offered appointments for vaccinations for this and seasonal flu at the doctors' surgery. Students
still at school are being dealt with in a mass vaccination programme.
If what I've read is correct there is no chance that we will run out because we started planning for this months ago.
I live a couple of miles away from one of the places making the vaccine - let me know if you need a dose...
scholar - 12-11-2009 at 18:30
Marymary's post, compared to mine just before it, makes a shocking contrast between government health care in the U.S. (a foul-up, with thousands of
deaths resulting) and the NHS in Scotland.
For whatever reason, Scotland's NHS is clearly superior.
I fear that the U.S. government will impose a health care system on us that is no better than U.S. government quality, while they expect Scotland NHS
quality. If they do, God have mercy!
giron - 12-11-2009 at 21:04
It's already been explained why the situation is being handled better in the UK.
Which part didn't you understand?
scholar - 12-11-2009 at 22:09
I remember reading a post to the effect that the NHS professionals have strong dedication and a sense of professional values. I also recall that
there is a structure of accountability. I believe it was also said that the English NHS had a harder task in some ways because of the influx of
But I have no doubt that President Clinton meant well when he reduced the profit allowed for vaccine, which ultimately resulted in vaccine companies
closing down. And surely the government leaders had open the option to make enough vaccine in multiple-dose bottles--they just didn't make the
better decision. The head of that department should be sacked.
giron - 12-11-2009 at 22:24
Perhaps you could organise a competition for American members only?
The lucky winner gets some swine flu vaccine.
It's the least you can do to help support folk that live in such an impoverished country.
Naturally, the rest of them will have to rely on the generous work of the Red Cross and other charity organisations.
marymary100 - 12-11-2009 at 23:05
I've looked up an American site that is run by the government there and they claim that they have enough for everyone they are just beginning with
the priority cases. Furthermore they are not charging for the vaccine. Any charge will come from the clinic for the "administration" etc.
giron - 12-11-2009 at 23:13
Surely, scholar would be aware of those claims, but his extensive academic research into this matter leads him to believe that the
government are lying about the availability of vaccine?
marymary100 - 12-11-2009 at 23:27
Governments lie? Next you'll be telling me we were nearly wiped out by an asteroid this week.
giron - 12-11-2009 at 23:47
Don't be ridiculous, that wasn't an asteroid, it was an alien death ray!
Luckily for us, the wiring had been damaged by a bread crumb and they had to shut it down before it could do us any real harm.
Daz - 12-11-2009 at 23:51
They not found any GPO trained engineers yet then...? Lucky that, eh!
giron - 12-11-2009 at 23:55
I'll tell you what, if any of those aliens come anywhere near me, I'll hit them with my exceedingly large GPO spanner!
marymary100 - 12-11-2009 at 23:56
Mmmm, perhaps that is why they are building that thing in Europe...
scholar - 13-11-2009 at 00:57
Well, it's hardly accurate to say that there is enough for everyone when people wait in line for hours to
get the vaccination, and then are turned away because the entire available supply at the clinic has been used up. (It's possible that the government
has screwed things up so badly that they have enough for everyone, but are nonetheless letting people sicken and die because the government is messing
up the distribution. It could be on the shelf somewhere, or distributed badly.)
The phrase "not charging for the vaccine" is deceptive, because they certainly ARE charging for the vaccine--they are charging the American
taxpayer, who is paying a higher price per dose because of the more expensive single dose packaging, and the price is higher because we are paying for
all the extra, unnecessary government personnel. There is something especially frustrating when money is taken from people who earn $50,000 per year
or less, to pay government people who earn $80,000 to $100,000 to supervise the operation. They are not free.
It is true that the people getting the medicine don't get charged when they receive the vaccine--they have already paid in their taxes. Off course,
those who have died because of the government delay don't get the vaccine.
The government lies--telling clinics there would be tens of millions of doses of vaccine available on schedule, and then delivering none on several of
the early dates, and less-than-promised amounts more recently--are part of the problem.
But Obama's girls got their vaccinations, and the Gitmo detainees got theirs before the average American. That's the way the politicians run health
care in the U.S.
Daz - 13-11-2009 at 01:14
[bad img]http://i26.tinypic.com/33upcnt.jpg[/bad img]
giron - 13-11-2009 at 12:01
How much to you pay in taxes and what proportion of that has been used to fund the vaccination program?
LSemmens - 13-11-2009 at 13:32
If you think that private companies could do a better job, you've never lived under a well run government system.
Back in the days when I worked for our Telecommunications company, we were the only kid on the block and were government run. We had, arguably, the
best telecommunications system in the world! Even if your nearest neighbour was a day's drive away! Since privatisation back in the 90s I'd be very
afraid of living too far from civilisation. Time was when Jimmy blackfella could pick up a phone in his community and speak to an operator who would
know him, and that he always spoke to Mary on the other side of Woop Woop. Every now and then Jimmy would call and the Operator would say the Mary is
in the big smoke visiting Johnny in hospital. Jimmy has no concept of satellite phones and could hardly use a dial phone, what hope has he got now
that it is all private and the government no longer funds the non profitable outstations because it no longer owns the network.
Now, if you have a telephone fault, you've got to jump through a million hoops just to convince someone that there is a problem, then you've got to
do it all over again just to convince them that it is their problem. Time was when, even in rural areas, service would be restored in a couple of days
and fully re-instated in a couple of weeks. A friend had a cable fault on his business phone which took three weeks for them to rectify by running a
cable along the footpath, then along his side fence, across about 50 metres of grass and finally into the building. Three years later it was still
there, patched many times when the mower would hit it. That is private enterprise for you!
As for your medication issues:
Medications have a limited shelf life: fact
If a bottle has been opened for one dose it cannot be stored beyond a short holding time owing to sterility breach: fact
Medical facilities can only hold enough stocks for their immediate needs, otherwise they would be throwing out old stock. Not very cost effective!
Pharmaceutical providers have similar issues and will produce enough medication for their projected immediate need.
If, f'rinstance, you produce widgets, and widgets have a shelf life of 7 days. You estimate that you need 1,250,000 widgets for a population of
1,500,000. (Some people may elect not to purchase a widget, others mat be away, and others may get their widgets elsewhere) Now, how many widgets do
you produce, given that there are 1,000 suppliers in the the town? (I'll develop this theme further when you tell me how many widgets you would
marymary100 - 13-11-2009 at 17:33
I'd rather not take a swine flu jab with mercury in it or other unnecessary substances, and I suspect others feel as I do.