The virus known as H1N1 (or swine flu) has been found in nearly every country now. President Obama declared it a national emergency on October 23. This declaration allows HHS Secretary Sebelius to waive certain requirements under Medicare and Medicaid, privacy rules and other regulations.
"The H1N1 is moving rapidly, as expected," White House spokesman Reid Cherlin said Saturday. "By the time regions or health-care systems recognize they are becoming overburdened, they need to implement disaster plans quickly."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Friday that the flu was spreading widely in at least 46 states and had already caused the hospitalization of at least 20,000 Americans. More than 1,000 deaths have been attributed to the virus and more than 2,400 additional deaths were probably associated with it, officials said.
According to the CDC website
These groups should receive H1N1 virus first:
These target groups include pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, healthcare and emergency medical services personnel, persons between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old, and people ages of 25 through 64 years of age who are at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.
With those guidelines in mind, the fact that Wall St. firms (the same ones bailed out by US taxpayers, the same ones who gave themselves huge bonuses as they were failing) have been given H1N1 vaccine is creating some outrage.
"Frankly, it is astonishing that in the face of widespread shortages, the CDC has seen fit to approve distribution of the H1N1 vaccine to Wall Street firms not known to be populated by those in the highest risk categories," CREW Director Melanie Sloan wrote to Sebelius on Nov. 5.
"Although CREW has been unable to uncover the demographic makeup of Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase, surely it is safe to assume the vast majority of their employees are not pregnant women, infants and children, young adults up to 24 years old, and healthcare workers," Sloan added.
The most ethical company in the bunch appears to be:
Morgan Stanley -- which also has returned the $10 billion it got from the bailout -- received 1,000 doses of the vaccine for its New York and suburban offices, but turned over its entire supply to local hospitals when it learned it received shipments before some area hospitals, spokeswoman Jeanmarie McFadden said.
These companies already have huge PR problems, and this is certainly not going to help. You know you’re in trouble when SNL gives you the treatment:
cross posted at workingamerica.org/blog