Saturday, November 7, 2009

The U.S. Panicked, while Europe Dealt with Vaccines like Grownups.

Here's what happened in the U.S.: Drug makers over sold the ability to provide enough vaccines for H1N1 so they could get a government contract; Republicans immediately blamed the administration for the problem, proving the case government can't do anything right i.e. health care; Republicans demanded government rationing, not Democrats, because moms and kids weren't getting their shots while more undeserving people were; Republicans also warned H1N1 is dangerous and shouldn't be forced on anyone. It's that crazy health care system in America.

In contrast, the rest of the world with their "universal health care" systems and Hitler like leaders handled it differently, rationally. AP:

In Britain, there are no long lines of people seeking swine flu vaccine. Doctor's offices aren't swamped with desperate calls. And there are no cries of injustice that the vaccine is going to wealthy corporations or healthy people who don't really need it ... Across most of Europe, vaccine to protect against the pandemic flu is mostly given by invitation only to those at highest risk for flu complications. "That is one of the great advantages of the British health system," said Dr. Steve Field, president of the Royal College of General Physicians. "We have a list of all the names of patients who qualify to be vaccinated." Instead of advertising that the vaccine had arrived and waiting for the lines to form, Britains socialized health care system allows the country to target people who need to be vaccinated quickly: "It's not like the U.S., where it's the survival of the fittest and the richest."

Americans learned that Wall Street giants Goldman Sachs and Citigroup got swine flu vaccine, even as many doctor's offices and community clinics still had none. The companies obtained the vaccine through standard procedures, and it was targeted to employees who met criteria for vaccination. But the perception of unfairness set off an outcry.

In Germany, doctors have also been contacting high-priority patients to come in for their swine flu shot, though other people who have asked for one have not been turned away.

In Sweden, Denmark and Finland, some local governments are sending invitations to people in high-risk groups or posting information about vaccine availability on their Web sites. So far, France is only vaccinating health care workers. Its health minister said 6 million people in priority groups would start getting invitations to be vaccinated next week.

In North America, swine flu vaccination has largely been a free-for-all, although some U.S. states have recently beefed up their screening process to ensure pregnant women, children and people with health problems get shots before healthy older people.

In Canada, which has a form of socialized medicine, health officials began an investigation this week after professional hockey and basketball players got the vaccine ahead of thousands of children.

In the U.S., the federal government is paying for the vaccine and rationing supplies to each state.

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