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Posted by on Nov 5, 2009 in Health, Media | 15 comments

Swine flu vaccine – the appearance of favoritism towards the wealthy

This MSNBC.com headline certainly won’t help the feeling that many Americans have that the wealthy get taken care of and the rest are left to hang:

Amid shortage, big NYC firms get swine vaccine
Rules allow company docs to request vaccine, distribute to high-risk groups

NEW YORK – Some of New York City’s largest employers – including Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs and big universities – have started receiving doses of the much-in-demand swine flu vaccine for their at-risk employees.

The government-funded vaccine is being distributed to states, where health departments decide where to send the limited doses. In New York, health officials are allowing businesses with onsite medical staff to apply for the vaccine.

Doctors for large companies can ask for the vaccine along with other doctors but must agree to vaccinate only high-risk employees like pregnant women and those with chronic illnesses, said Jessica Scaperotti, a spokeswoman for New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

While there is more to the story than the headline and sub-headline, you have to dig deep into the article to find the non-inflammatory content. While it is traditional that “if it bleeds, it leads” one must wonder if the headline needed to be quite this inflammatory.


Cross-posted between Random Fate and The Moderate Voice .

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  • JSpencer

    Maybe this wouldn’t look so bad if there wasn’t already a background of controversial behavior and an atmosphere of distrust. Is a nurse or doctor going to refuse to give a flu shot to an executive who has control over his or her paycheck?

  • Perhaps it would also be less noticable if the country hadn’t been looking so deeply as of late into the very great disparity between the respective healthcare outcomes of rich people and poor people. This makes a pretty clear example of that disparity.

  • $199537

    If it is being given to high-risk populations I don’t see where it matters who is actually administering it.

    On the other hand, the low-risk Obama daughters got theirs a week or two ago while many high-risk kids here in Iowa are still waiting.

  • archangel

    odd.here in C olo, it’s said prisoners are getting flu shot. Local news had a spot on it. But those of us who are triple threat by age and health issues are still being told no vaccine til Dec

  • JSpencer

    Do you really not understand why the Obama girls were given flu shots??? Think about it…

    • $199537

      Do you really not understand why the Obama girls were given flu shots???

      Because they’re spunky and winsome?

      • JSpencer

        “Because they’re spunky and winsome?”They may be spunky and winsome, but you’re not even warm yet. Think contagion in the white house for starters. Get it?

        • $199537

          Yeah I understand. If you recall a couple of weeks ago people were afraid of side effects from the H1N1 vaccine and were questioning why Sasha and Malia hadn’t received it. The WH response was because they were at low risk. Now in the next week they’ve received the vaccine even though their risk hasn’t changed, so I’m not sure why the WH was following the risk guidelines one week and discarded them the next. Not a big deal though, realistically you don’t want the first family getting sick.

  • rachelmap

    Did anyone here think that the Swine Flu vaccine would be any different from other medical treatments in the US? The people with money and power are the first in line. If we had a system like… Well, any other industrialized nation in the world, it would perhaps be a scandal, but this is just business as usual.

  • StockBoySF

    So why are people complaining? We don’t have national healthcare and Americans don’t want national healthcare. But they want to be treated as though they deserve the vaccine while others are less deserving.

    If we had national healthcare and the vaccines were taken out of the healthcare system to treat the wealthy first, then that’s where the story would be.

    But until then, remember there are “haves and have-nots” in this country. Money talks and it’s rarely fair. Many of those with little or no money will not even receive the vaccine.

  • ksb43

    Earlier this week, at the hospital, there were some H1N1 shots in house. I went to see if I qualified and the answer was emphatically NO. Pregnant women, those who live with an infant under six months of age, and front line health care workers, such as ER physicians and nurses are the only ones getting shots right now.

    My understanding is that the vaccine is distributed to state health departments, who then fan it out to various institutions and local health departments. I guarantee you someone’s palm was greased, so that the Masters of the Universe on Wall Street got their shots before the truly needy. Did anyone really think that Goldman Sachs was going to go without?

  • Don Quijote

    Swine flu vaccine – the appearance of favoritism towards the wealthy

    I believe that we live under an economic system commonly known as “CAPITALISM” and in such a system those that have money can buy whatever they want and those who don’t can go to their little corner and die like dogs…

    • casualobserver

      DQ, why don’t you do your blood pressure a favor and start learning the lyrics to El Himno de Bayamo? No capitalists are getting swine flu vaccinations there either.

  • StockBoySF

    DaGoat: “If you recall a couple of weeks ago people were afraid of side effects from the H1N1 vaccine and were questioning why Sasha and Malia hadn’t received it. The WH response was because they were at low risk. Now in the next week they’ve received the vaccine even though their risk hasn’t changed…”

    I would like to add that this seems to be an example (with regards to Obama) of being damned if he does and damned if he does NOT do something….

    As far as a change in the risk guidelines… I don’t think we have the full story. Perhaps some of the girls’ classmates (or their family members) came down with H1N1 and it was deemed prudent to innoculate the girls. Or perhaps it was determined by the WH staff that now was a good time to administer the vaccine.

    But bottom line is you’re right- not a big deal and we really don’t want the first family (and potentially others in the WH) to get sick and spread this around. We have to remember that Obama meets leaders in the military, economy, world, etc. all day. The last thing we want is for the people who make decisions about national security (military, economic, etc) to be laid up in the hospital along with their staffs.

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