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Tuesday, October 19, 2004 

The War on Public Health

It’s looking like this year I will not be getting a flu shot for the first time since I was 8 years old. And although I completely agree with Spock that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or one,” I still want my damn flu shot. I'm fine with old people, little kids and pregnant women getting it before me, but it really pisses me off to read headlines like "Health secretary: No flu vaccine crisis." It’s the Donald Rumsfeld world-view applied to public health. While reading this story, I half expected this idiot to be quoted issuing some whacked-out "we are winning the war on Islam, I mean the flu" pronouncement straight from Dick Cheney's undisclosed location in Never-Never land.

The ever-fearless Kerry camp went on the offensive this week, releasing a commercial raising the Bush administration’s record on vaccines. Let me pause here to clear up any confusion. No, the new Kerry commercial does not talk about the series of ridiculous claims Bush made during the Oct. 13 debate. It doesn't mention his assertion that the vaccine shortage is a result of excessive litigation against drug manufactures, nor the farce that the administration was/is protecting us from "contaminated medicine," or even the outright misleading characterization of Emeryville, California based drug manufacturer Chiron as "a company out of Britain." None of that is covered. Instead, the Kerry ad focuses on the Bush administration's failure to stockpile enough worthless bio-terror vaccines needed in the fight against smallpox and anthrax. I don’t know how Patrick Leahy or Tom Daschle are feeling, but I for one am a hell of a lot more scared of influenza then anthrax.

Speaking of bio-terrorism, does anyone know what kind of trouble you'd get in for sending packets of flu infected vomit to Howard Pien with a thank you card?

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