Confined Space
News and Commentary on Workplace Health & Safety, Labor and Politics

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Flu Vaccine Crisis: Who's to Blame?

Is John Kerry shameless exploiting the flu vaccine crises in an effort to trash the innocent President? Will he "say anything" to get elected, no matter how untrue?

Not according to science blogger Chris Mooney:
Science and the Vaccine Crisis Henry Waxman's office has the goods (PDF). Essentially, the administration ignored years of expert advice from pretty much every authority you can think of, ranging from the Institute of Medicine to the GAO, on how to avert a crisis due to vaccine shortages. Meanwhile, the Bush FDA was lax (PDF) in responding to problems at the Chiron facility in England. In short, this crisis, like so many others in this administration, seems attributable to incompetent, factually challenged leadership.
And Workers Comp Insider discusses the implication of a vaccine-less flu season on workplaces in an economy whee fewer workers have sick days, and those who have them are discouraged from taking them.

When these people stay home, they don’t earn any money – so they are inclined to drag themselves into work with the flu, thereby exposing co-workers and the public to possible infection. (This could be a huge problem in the fast food industry, where employee benefits tend toward the minimum.) Finally, the flu is actually contagious for one day prior to any symptoms appearing, so even cautious employees may expose others to illness.

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