We Will Find the Flu of Mass Destruction

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Remember the millions of doses of bird flu vaccine we bought for the coming pandemic? They're expiring. So we're buying millions more.

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  1. It’s a stupid, but politically expedient CYA measure.

    If you don’t stockpile a vaccine then the press has a scandal to thump on.

    The real scandal should be buying a useless vaccine to ward off a bogeyman, but that won’t sell as many papers as “You are all going to die, and the govt won’t help you!”

  2. You know, the Government is doing nothing to eliminate the reservoir of the black plague in the Southwest. The Black Plague killed a third of Europe between 1348 and 1351. If that’s not a reason for a national health service, I don’t know what is.

  3. I live in the middle of a major tuberculosis hotspot (Phoenix) and almost nobody outside of the health services knows this. It’s been a major outbreak here for a decade, mostly brought up from Mexico and Central America.

    I’ve never heard the press mention this, but they go apeshit over bird flu in 4 people in Turkey that live in a house full of chickens.

  4. “I’ve never heard the press mention this, but they go apeshit over bird flu in 4 people in Turkey that live in a house full of chickens.”

    Probably because tuberculosis is caused by a bacteria, and bird flu is a virus.

    Tuberculosis is treatable with antibiotics, unless you’re unlucky enough to get one of the newer multi-drug-resistant strains.

    Viruses require strain-specific vaccines, which take longer to produce and aren’t useful for other diseases, the way antibiotics are.

    So maybe that’s the reason they aren’t freaking out about tuberculosis.

  5. I think most tb is now the resistant kind. That’s why it sticks around forever, and never goes away. People don’t follow the medical regime and make it even stronger.

    Plus, the 1918 Flu did kill more people than WWI. If a flu pandemic like that were to come it would seem more apocalyptic. TB, on the other hand, is pretty hard to get.

  6. I don’t know that this is such a waste. It’s like having homeowner’s insurance for those of us who don’t live near the coast or in a fire-prone area. The likelihood that I’ll ever need is, I sincerely hope, very remote, but if I do need it and it’s not there, that’s devastating. This is the same principle; until we’re certain that bird flu isn’t going to be a massive threat, it’s better to have the vaccine on hand than not.

  7. I work in the vaccine industry, so if the government stopped freaking out, I’d be unemployed pretty quickly.

    As long as there’s a good risk assessment behind the purchases (and I realize that’s an iffy proposition at best, but if there is,) then I see nothing wrong with it. Addressing fast-spreading communicable diseases is one of the few functions that NIH and CDC should have.

  8. At least Bush isn’t calling for an orbital laser bird flu shield.

  9. Tuberculosis is treatable with antibiotics, unless you’re unlucky enough to get one of the newer multi-drug-resistant strains.

    And guess which one we have lots of…

    I go into a lot of houses where I have to wear a HEPA mask when I am doing my EMT gig.

    Point it, the TB is here right now and is contageous, the bird flu is a theoretical threat that may possibly someday be contageous in humans and then maybe travel from the other side of the world.

  10. The cost per person potentially helped for this vaccine batch was over $104. What a bargain!

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