Oregon health officials had gathered at Irvington Village, a Portland.
assisted-living center, to kick off the state's annual flu vaccine awareness
campaign. The message: Get your flu shot...
Exactly a week later, news broke that Chiron Corp., a major British
vaccine maker -- one of only two companies producing vaccine for the United
States -- had run afoul of health regulations and would not provide almost 50
million doses. That left the United States with about half of its expected
supply, made by Aventis Pasteur, the only other manufacturer.
At 8:30 a.m.
Tuesday, Mary Durbrow, the Oregon adult immunization coordinator who organized
the flu-shot campaign, was stunned by a telephone call from a colleague on the
East Coast, asking if she'd heard the news of Chiron's difficulties
Now this should be made a major issue in the presidential campaign, because, as Harpers' points out:
Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson has claimed that
preparing for bioterrorism will enable the government to respond to influenza
and other infectious diseases; in fact, the reverse is true. Bioterrorism is a
remote threat and a massive attack is very unlikely, but it captures the
imagination of weak-minded politicians and a populace raised on movies starring
Bruce Willis. The truly imminent biological threat, which all public-health
experts agree will inevitably strike, is an influenza pandemic. The 1918
pandemic killed 550,000 Americans and 30 million worldwide. A virulent flu would
thus be much worse than a bioterrorism attack, and it would strike every part of
the country more or less simultaneously. These facts are well known and understood, yet TFAH found that only thirteen states have a plan or at least a draft of a plan to confront an influenza pandemic. Amazingly, the CDC itself has yet to release a federal plan for such a pandemic; nor does the CDC require states to report flu cases or even flu deaths..
Now when it comes to public health care, the Bush junta doesn't have it's eye on this at all, but rather crap like "faith-based health care."
As I said, this needs to be made a HUGE issue in the campaign.