Hannity uses CDC announcement of H1N1 vaccine priorities to fearmonger about rationing
On September 21, Sean Hannity again fearmongered about health care rationing, claiming that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) "literally [has] a list of priorities" regarding which populations receive the H1N1 flu vaccine, and that people age 65 and older are "last on the list," which amounts to "a form of government deciding rationing." In fact, CDC's advisory board explained that it does not anticipate a shortage of H1N1 vaccine but issued the priorities list because "availability and demand can be unpredictable" and said that the "risk for infection among persons age 65 or older is less than the risk for younger age groups."
Hannity: CDC vaccine list amounts to "government deciding rationing"
From the September 21 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
HANNITY: Did you see the -- the AP story? There's an AP story, ladies and gentlemen, out there about -- everyone's a little bit worried in the back of your mind about swine flu. OK? A lot of people have been talking about it -- they're concerned.
They literally have a list of priorities. When this vaccine finally comes out --
DICK MORRIS (Fox News contributor): Yeah -- right.
HANNITY: -- in October sometime, you know who's last on the list? People 65 and older.
HANNITY: And I read that, and I'm thinking, all right, isn't that a form of --
HANNITY -- government deciding rationing, if you will --
HANNITY -- the limited number of vaccines they'll ultimately come up with?
MORRIS: Yeah, and more importantly these decisions are being made by a policy board, not by your doctor.
MORRIS: If your doctor knows that you're weak and susceptible and all of that, and one shot -- one attack of the flu is going to kill you, then you should be able to get the shot.
CDC: No vaccine shortage expected, people age 65 and older less at risk
CDC advisory board: "The committee does not expect that there will be a shortage of novel H1N1 vaccine." In a press release titled, "CDC Advisors Make Recommendations for Use of Vaccine Against Novel H1N1," CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices created a list of "groups of the population [that] should be prioritized if the vaccine is initially available in extremely limited quantities" but stated, "The committee does not expect that there will be a shortage of novel H1N1 vaccine." The committee added: "[B]ut availability and demand can be unpredictable. There is some possibility that initially the vaccine will be available in limited quantities." [CDC press release, 7/29/09]
CDC advisory board: People age 65 or older are less at risk than younger age groups. The press release also stated, "Current studies indicate the risk for infection among persons age 65 or older is less than the risk for younger age groups." From the CDC press release:
There is some possibility that initially the vaccine will be available in limited quantities. In this setting, the committee recommended that the following groups receive the vaccine before others:
- pregnant women,
- people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age,
- health care and emergency medical services personnel with direct patient contact,
- children 6 months through 4 years of age, and
- children 5 through 18 years of age who have chronic medical conditions.
The committee recognized the need to assess supply and demand issues at the local level. The committee further recommended that once the demand for vaccine for these prioritized groups has been met at the local level, programs and providers should begin vaccinating everyone from ages 25 through 64 years. Current studies indicate the risk for infection among persons age 65 or older is less than the risk for younger age groups. Therefore, as vaccine supply and demand for vaccine among younger age groups is being met, programs and providers should offer vaccination to people over the age of 65.
The committee also stressed that people over the age of 65 receive the seasonal vaccine as soon as it is available. [CDC press release, 7/29/09]
During Bush administration, CDC released flu shot priority list
In 2004, CDC "announced priority groups" for seasonal flu shot due to shortage. In October 2004, CDC announced that the United Kingdom had suspended the license of a company that was making that year's seasonal flu shot for use in the United States and stated that "[t]his will reduce by approximately one half the expected supply of trivalent inactivated vaccine (flu shot) available in the United States for the 2004-05 influenza season." As a result, CDC issued a list of "[p]riority groups for vaccination with inactivated influenza vaccine this season":
Priority Groups for Influenza Vaccination
Priority groups for vaccination with inactivated influenza vaccine this season are:
- all children aged 6-23 months,
- adults aged 65 years and older,
- persons aged 2-64 years with underlying chronic medical conditions,
- all women who will be pregnant during influenza season,
- residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities,
- children 6 months-18 years of age on chronic aspirin therapy,
- health-care workers with direct patient care, and out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children aged <6 months. [CDC press release, 10/5/04]
CDC in 2004: People not in priority group should be "asked to forego or defer vaccination." In the October 2004 press release, CDC also stated, "Persons who are not included in one of the priority groups above should be informed about the urgent vaccine supply situation and asked to forego or defer vaccination."
At the time, Hannity defended Bush administration and declared that certain people "don't need a flu shot." On the October 21, 2004, edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Hannity stated, "The Kerry campaign has slammed Vice President Cheney for getting a flu shot while many Americans cannot" (Nexis transcript). Hannity later asserted to Democratic strategist Bob Beckel: "You and I have been friends a number of years and I've had other friends that had this. You need a flu shot. I'm pretty healthy. I don't need a flu shot. Dick Cheney needs one. Bill Clinton needs one. I understand Hillary got her flu shot." Hannity also said: "I thought this was a cheap shot. The president's not going to get one. I'm healthy. [Co-host] Alan [Colmes], you're healthy. And [guest] Michael [Reagan] you are, too."
Hannity: Government rationing body will "tell women with breast cancer, 'you're dead.' " Discussing health care reform, Hannity said, "We're going to have a government rationing body that tells women with breast cancer, 'you're dead.' It's a death sentence." [Hannity, 6/19/09]
Hannity: "[W]elcome to the brave new world of Obamacare. We're going to encourage, you know, inconvenient people to consider 'alternatives to living.' " Referring to a July 17 New York Post op-ed written by former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey, Hannity stated on his radio show: "[I]t sounds to me like they're actually encouraging seniors in the end, 'Well, you may just want to consider packing it all in here, this is -- ' what other way is there to describe this?" He continued: "So that they don't become a financial burden on the Obamacare system? I mean, that's how they intend to cut cost, by cutting down on the health care we can give and get at the end of our lives and dramatically cutting it down for senior citizens? You know, welcome to the brave new world of Obamacare. We're going to encourage, you know, inconvenient people to consider 'alternatives to living.' " [ABC Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show, 7/17/09]
Hannity strings together "death book," OR assisted suicide, British rationing, asks if Palin "pretty much got this right." Hannity said: "Everyone denied the death panels, Governor Palin is wrong. But then all of a sudden, the Senate says, oh, we'll drop the death panel provision or the end-of-life counseling sessions from the original House version." Hannity also misrepresented the Veterans Health Administration booklet "Your Life, Your Choices" to call it a "death book" and asked, "Can we just say Governor Palin pretty much got this right?" [Hannity, 8/25/09]
Hannity: "Your Life, Your Choices" is like a "death panel." Hannity said to Sen. John McCain: "Senator, your running mate, Governor Sarah Palin, came out with a very hard-hitting posting on Facebook, which I agreed with." He later added: "The Obama administration brought back this book that the Bush administration had gotten rid of -- 'Your Life, Your Choices.' They go through a series of scenarios with veterans at VA hospitals and nursing homes, which basically says, well, you know, you don't want to be a burden to society, to your family. Is that the kind of death panel that maybe people were afraid of when they read pages 425 to 430 of the House bill?" [Hannity, 8/26/09]