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Richard E. Walrath: Phooey On The Flu

Phooey On The Flu

By Richard E. Walrath

That’s the title and attitude of our government on the flu vaccine shortage. Keep the problem out of the news--don't report on it and people will forget about it. Show pictures of the Marines taking Fallujah and broadcast the news that the backs of the insurgents in Iraq have been broken.

Time for the Holidays! Everybody go shopping. It's button-up time on the flu vaccine scandal.

Yesterday I received a listing from my doctor of all the places known in Central Ahia to have flu vaccine--a total of ten. Each one has or had 400 shots available on a first-come, first served basis--that's a total of 4000.

The population of Central ahia is well over one million. A lottery system would have made just as much, if not more, sense. What this is about is keeping the scandal as quiet as possible. Flu vaccine manufacturing and distribution in this country is done by the private sector. We wouldn't want people to know just how badly this whole thing has been bungled by the private sector, would we?

Some people might think vaccination of the people should be the responsibility of the government. We can't have that, can we? This is just the flu we're talking about now--no big deal. Just 36,000 died from the flu last year when there was plenty of vaccine.

What do you suppose would happen if the problem was small pox? Why do you think the situation would be any different?

Over 65 automatically puts me in the category of "high risk" and by ahia's own standard's, I don't need a prescription. What I need and they don't have is a flu shot.

All the places on the listing already had their flu shot clinics @$20 a throw except one. It was some place over in Hilliard with 400 shots available.
Unless you want to pitch a tent and sleep out overnight, there is no chance of getting there ahead of the hundreds of people who show up.

Maybe I'll just go to Canada. They're running flu ferries into Canada for $105 where you can get a flu shot, spend a day shopping, and see the sights.

Actually, a flu shot is not a drug so there should be nothing against getting it from Canada. What's gong on here is a classic example of something being given away in one country while in the next country it is scarce and is not available, presumably, at any price.

The United States is buying all the flu vaccine that Canada will let them have and all of a sudden there no longer seems to be any worry about whether or not it's "safe!"

Economics would say that situation cannot exist. The demand for the flu vaccine will bid up the price--ZERO in Canada--until everyone who wanted a flu shot got one at whatever price it would take to meet the demand.

That's what economics would say. It's interesting to note that economists are saying nothing about it.

Not only is the flu vaccine FREE in Canada, but they actually have it. Here in amujrka, it's not free and they still want as much as hundreds of dollars for a shot.

That's where I think the flu vaccine is going--to places where you can get a shot if you want to pay several hundred dollars for it. There's a price-gouging scandal going on that nobody wants to report. I would bet my last dollar that a lot more than 4000 people in Central ahia got flu shots this fall.

Maybe the answer is to find a faith-based organization. There is one church on the list--United Brethren of something or other. I bet if I went there and became a member, I could get a flu shot.

Another idea is to answer every phone call I get with, if this isn't about where to get a flu shot, don't bother me.

There should be some way to really make some noise about it.

If you count recorded messages as places to complain to, there are lots of numbers to call--toll free. Try to find a real, live person you can talk to--they've all gone into hiding. Try to find the subject in the newspapers or on TV.

There is almost a total blackout on the subject. They just don't want people to know or talk about the abysmal failure of the private sector to provide flu vaccine to the one hundred million who need it and should have it this year.


© 2004 Richard Walrath

Richard Walrath is a freelance writer and CAO of Articles and Answers. Visit us online at

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