Where's the Swine Flu vaccine, Barry?

The nasty bug has been detected in 46 states now, and is rapidly spreading to schools and workplaces. The president has declared a "national emergency" which is mostly a technical step; it allows federal and state resources to be mobilized to fight the epidemic.

But tell me this isn't a government operation. Jackie Calmes and Donald McNeil of the New York Times are reporting that despite the long lead time, the vaccine supply is inadequate:

President Obama has declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency, allowing hospitals and local governments to speedily set up alternate sites for treatment and triage procedures if needed to handle any surge of patients, the White House said on Saturday.

The declaration came as thousands of people lined up in cities across the country to receive vaccinations, and as federal officials acknowledged that their ambitious vaccination program has gotten off to a slow start. Only 16 million doses of the vaccine were available now, and about 30 million were expected by the end of the month. Some states have requested 10 times the amount they have been allotted.

Flu activity - virtually all of it the swine flu - is now widespread in 46 states, a level that federal officials say equals the peak of a typical winter flu season. Millions of people in the United States have had swine flu, known as H1N1, either in the first wave in the spring or the current wave.

Although there has been no exact count, officials said the H1N1 virus has killed more than 1,000 Americans and hospitalized over 20,000. The emergency declaration, which Mr. Obama signed Friday night, has to do only with hospital treatment, not with the vaccine. Government officials emphasized that Mr. Obama's declaration was largely an administrative move that did not signify any unanticipated worsening of the outbreak of the H1N1 flu nationwide. Nor, they said, did it have anything to do with the reports of vaccine shortages.

In a typical year, flu kills about 34,000 Americans so we are not at a crisis level with Swine Flu - yet. But unless the government can figure out a way to boost the supply of vaccine, this may be a very ugly Christmas as people avoid malls and shops where a lot of people congregate, and do most of their shopping online.

Will anyone dare ask Obama why the shortage of vaccine? Not unless they want the "Fox Treatment."

Given the hoopla the administration presented their "plan" for dealing with the Swine Flu, you would think these little details like having enough vaccine for everyone who wanted it would have been taken care of.

And tell me that this isn't the same crew who lambasted George Bush for falling down on the job during the Katrina crisis?

Yes it is the same thing, my liberal friends. And your man is screwing it up.

Even the Times compares the snafu with Swine Flu vaccine with Katrina:

Federal officials predicted last spring that as many as 120 million doses could be available by now, with nearly 200 million by year's end. But production problems plagued some of the five companies contracted to make the vaccine. All use a technology involving growing the vaccine in fertilized chicken eggs; at most of them, the seed strain grew more slowly than expected.

The manufacturers are "working hard to get vaccine out as safely and rapidly as possible," Dr. Frieden said. But since it is grown in eggs, "even if you yell at them, they don't grow faster."

Since last winter's more isolated cases of swine flu, the expectation that the virus would return with a vengeance in this flu season had posed a test of the Obama administration's preparedness. Officials are mindful that the previous administration's failure to better prepare for and respond to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 left doubts that dogged President George W. Bush to the end of his term.

Two hundred million doses by year end? And they project having only 30 million by the end of October? Also, as the story notes, they are doling it out by the several thousand.

Seems you're a touch short there, Barry. It's a long way to 200 million doses from the 30 million we'll have by the end of the week - or the 120 million you promised we'd have by this time. So congratulations, you're only 400% short in your projections.

Now some might be bold enough to call that rollicking incompetence. But how can we when you're so smart and able? Must be Bush's fault.


Tom Singer adds:
In the battle against the H1N1 flu, our government promised that they would have 120 million doses delivered by mid-October. As of late October actual amount delivered is closer to 11 million, a measly 9% fulfillment rate.

Accordingly, when our Government delivers on their healthcare promises expect this: Higher Premiums, Higher Taxes, and 9% of the service you're getting now and 0% care from your government.

To undo this boondoggle and stop others in the pipeline, we need to get back to conservative principles in our government. 

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