10.26.2005

Flu Vaccine Supply

Well my little dumplings, there is something new to be hysterical about, other than terrorism and the ineptitude of our own government during natural disasters. 
 
Who else remembers the President telling the American public to keep an eye out for terrorists, that there were big terror plans afoot and he trusted the American public to report any suspicions to avert an attack?  This is the same crowd that keeps Las Vegas a big money-maker.  (Yes, Econo-Girl hates Vegas and gambling).
 
But now we have something new to distract us from the looting of our national Treasury.  It is bird flu hysteria.  The latest fear orgy is dependent on the short supply of bird flu vaccine.
 
The BBC Newshour radio program had a segment about the prioritization of flu shots.  There is a couple there who claim that 70 years on Earth is a good, long time and the elderly should not be at the top of the list for getting flu vaccines.  Children should be.  Their evidence is that last flu pandemic after World War I, most of the fatalities were children, not the elderly.  So their argument is that children should get the vaccine first. 
 
A lot can be said about a civilization by examining how their resources are allocated.  Older people are valued more than in 1915.  But are children valued less?  Should older Americans be asked to volunteer their flu vaccine to a waiting child?  I bet a lot of them would do it.  Econo-Girl, the font of wisdom on most fronts, has no ready answer to this issue.  But it is one that should at least be discussed.

11 comments:

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BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

What an interesting question, and one I had not thought about beforehand.

The direction and resources of this country frustrate me to such an extent. That is why I blog!

Thanks for visiting.

Anonymous said...

Well, one also has to look at the average life expectancy between 1915 and now. Yes, more children died then elderly back then, but what was the ratio of children to elderly? What is it now?

In some respects, i think that young adults, as a whole, and including children, are valued less. As a society, we do respect the elderly much more now...although, to an extent children are respected less, and though some of it is because of the more troublesome children have become, with new images and what-not, but they are the future of this world. But...who ever said that the respect had to be the same for the elderly and the children. Alas, I don't believe they should-the elderly have proved themselves, the young are just waiting for their chance.

Econo-Girl said...

Yes, but where should the medical, life-saving resources be applied? Is it really a value judgement as to who deserves it? Or rather, should the allocation of resources be determined by what serves society's interests best? And which choice would that be?

Anonymous said...

Hmm...this does bring up several good points, I have not thought of.

It could be construed as a value judgement; truly I don't think it should be, but it very well could. With the modern 'miracles' of science, it is a shame that we have limited vaccines; one would think that we would be able to create a vaccine that would be just as effective, though maybe not made entirely from the same sources.

I'm not sure if the right question is which choice that would be, but, rather, who has the right to make that choice, if not the individuals themselves?

The Lazy Iguana said...

All I know is that I work in a major international airport. When / if the next pandemic flu enters the USA, it might very well enter where I work. Miami gets tons of Central / South American flights, as well as flights from Europe.

Did I get my flu shot? No. Will I? Probably not. If you are going to get sick and die, you are going to get sick and die.

Econo-Girl said...

Iggy, as a young, healthy man, chances are you are not going to die, even if you do get sick. And I am glad.

Econo-Girl said...

Anonymous, essentially our oldsters are "the Greatest Generation" and it would not surprise me if many of them opted to give their shots to young children.

Econo-Girl is inspired to post on this issue.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes; no doubt that the many of the elderly would decline the chance of a flu shot in favor of a youngster. I did not mean to present it in any other way. I'm simply saying that if the government tries to make the decision, what right do they have to do so?

Econo-Girl said...

Anonymous, all rights not given to the government of the US are reserved for the people. I think that is where you are coming from.

And Econo-Girl can understand that. However, the result of a large consumer base acting in their own self-interest would be expensive vaccines for the rich. And not enough for everyone, because until the pandemic hits, it would not be cost-effective to make enough for everyone.

So what is the legal basis for government action in regard to flu vaccine? Certainly a massive outbreak of flu would impact interstate commerce. Certainly US health and welfare.

It is not one of the areas that the marketplace can provide a solution for.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, only the rich would be able to afford it, and the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, would be devistating.

I'm not proposing that corporations make it and sell it to the public. I'm thinking that the corporations should make it and sell it to the government. After all, the government is already spending much on it; this way they do not have to pay to produce it.