I am not unaware that there are wide geographical differences in the distribution of the H1N1 vaccine. Some places need more vaccine and others have a surplus. No system of logistics is ever that flawless. But the story this week from multiple sources is that large supplies of the vaccine are reaching the public.
It’s just that vaccine arriving apparently isn’t as compelling a news story as a vaccine shortage.
I took the photo above from the page of one of the free newspapers that are handed out in the NYC Subway system. The story goes on to say that the supply of H1N1 vaccine is now so extensive in NYC that they are offering it to age cohorts that had previously been excluded because of the urgent need to get the vaccine to kids at highest risk.
But in what is a typical pattern of press coverage, the early vaccine shortage got the sensational coverage while the current successful broad distribution of the vaccine has gone relatively unnoticed. The only news story we would be less likely to hear about would be a group of “keep the government out of health care” ideologues now announcing their gratitude because, without the government, many of their children would not have been vaccinated.
To tell you the truth, though, I no longer pay much attention to “get the government out of people’s lives” crowd. Normally it would be a point of view that would deserve fair discussion and debate, and serious libertarians — however misguided — are at least consistent enough to be mildly interesting to speak with — but the hypocrisy of so many of those who complain about government is simply too blatant.
It turns out that a more accurate statement of their philosophy is “keep the government out of our lives” except in all the cases in which we DO want the government in your lives.
PS. I am going to go to Google Earth right now, choosing a random US location with my eyes closed, and then checkng the government web site to see if vaccine is available there. In fact, I’ll do two locations. My question is: At each of the two locations, is there vaccine available and how easy would it be to obtain?
1. My first random stop was an absolutely gorgeous piece of farmland in Greenville, Kentucky. On checking, every school child in Muhlenberg has been offered a free H1N1 vaccination.
2. Stop #2 was also a beautiful rural location, Hitchcock, Oklahoma. Located in Blaine County, the population of Hitchcock doesn’t quite crack 200. Every Tueday and Thursday in Blaine County, an H1N1 clinic is being offered in Watonga.
It’s not that this problem is fully solved.
It’s the foolishness of those who loathe the thought of the government in health care but who couldn’ t get in line for the vaccine fast enough, the people who griped about a shortage but who will be unwilling to acknowledge the now successful effort that is making it possible for their kids to be protected.