Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com highlighted a piece by Washington Examiner editorial page editor Mark Tapscott which blamed the H1N1 vaccine shortage on the government and suggested that the shortage is indicative of the government's ability to reform health care. However, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Thomas Friedan has stated that "[w]e are not near where the vaccine manufacturers predicted we would be" and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has called the projections the government received from the manufacturers "overly rosy."
Breitbart, Examiner editor use "swine flu vaccine shortage" to attack health care reform
Tapscott: "The same government that only weeks ago promised abundant supplies of swine flu vaccine by mid-October will be running your health care system under Obamacare." From Tapscott's post on WashingtonExaminer.com's Beltway Confidential blog:
President Obama's late-night declaration of a nationwide public health emergency last night shouldn't be allowed to obscure the most important lesson of the developing swine flu crisis - The same government that only weeks ago promised abundant supplies of swine flu vaccine by mid-October will be running your health care system under Obamacare.
On Sept. 13, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, told ABC's This Week program that the government was on schedule to deliver an "ample supply" of swine flu vaccine by mid-October:
"We're on track to have an ample supply rolling by the middle of October. But we may have some early vaccine as early as the first full week in October. We'll get the vaccine out the door as fast as it rolls off the production line."
But here we are five weeks later and news reports are coming in from across the nation of long waiting lines of people wanting the shot, but being turned away because of grossly inadequate supplies. The typical explanation from public health offiials [sic] is that the swine flu vaccine requires more time to be cultivated than seasonal flu vaccine.
That's no doubt true, but did federal public health officials just discover that fact? These are the same government officials who will be in charge of your health care under the government-run health care system being sought by Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress.
The [national emergency] declaration [on H1N1] will allow waiving of federal regulations on a case-by-case basis. But how will we waive an entire government-run health care system?
Here's something else to think about: How will Obama and congressional Democrats seek to take advantage of this public health crisis? This is, after all, the administration that never lets a good crisis go to waste, right? [10/24/09]
Breitbart's Biggovernment.com highlights Tapscott's post. From Biggovernment.com:
[Screen capture 10/26/09]
CDC, Sebelius say manufacturers' projections of available vaccines were too high
CDC Director: "We are not near where the vaccine manufacturers predicted we would be." As evidence that public health officials are saying that supplies are "grossly inadequate" because "the swine flu vaccine requires more time to be cultivated than seasonal flu vaccine," Tapscott linked to a Foxnews.com article discussing October 23 comments by CDC director Dr. Thomas Friedan. However, in his October 23 comments about the H1N1 vaccine, Friedan stated that vaccine supplies were below the number predicted because the estimates from the vaccine manufactures - presumably the experts in flu vaccine manufacturing - were too high. Friedan stated: "What we have learned more in the last couple of weeks is that not only is the virus unpredictable, but vaccine production is much less predictable than we wish. We are nowhere near where we thought we'd be by now. We are not near where the vaccine manufacturers predicted we would be." [10/23/09]
CDC official: "[S]ome of the manufacturers have let us know that the production of vaccine is likely to be a bit delayed." From an October 17 press briefing by Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases:
It's very difficult to predict exactly how many doses we'll have in the weeks ahead, but we do want to let people know that some of the manufacturers have let us know that the production of vaccine is likely to be a bit delayed in terms of the number of doses they were expecting to have out in future weeks. We wish that we had more vaccine and there is more vaccine coming out every day but it doesn't look like we're going to be able to make those estimates that we had projected for the end of this month. The production estimates are going to be lower by the end of this month but there will be more vaccine coming out regularly. [10/23/09]
Sebelius: We were "relying on the manufacturers to give us their numbers ... It does appear now that those numbers were overly rosy." Sebelius stated on the October 26 edition of CBS' The Early Show: "What we were doing is relying on the manufacturers to give us their numbers, and as soon as we got numbers, we put them out to the public. It does appear now that those numbers were overly rosy, that the projections were too high a couple of months ago and we got updated projections as recently as Columbus Day." [10/26/09]