Friday, July 25, 2008

July 24 Flu Update

The Federal vaccine allocation plan is basically the same, focusing on critical workers first.

Revere blogs this, noting that the policy puts the military second, and wonders why. (My note: this will get people going about whether the military is expected to "maintain order" during a pandemic).


At 8:49 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Regarding the Revere article you posted, “Why should the military get a scarce pandemic flu vaccine before almost everybody else?”, I do believe he and his numerous commentators have thoroughly missed the mark on this topic. It’s quite simple….

All the superpowers of the world will designate their military, all “mission critical” personnel , along with public health care workers and hospital and nursing staffs, at the top of the pandemic vaccine and antiviral pyramid, for one reason only (and it is not necessarily to “maintain order” of the populace, even though that may be one of their functions and duties if called upon). It is to preserve the infrastructure, integrity and war fighting capability of the armed forces during a world wide pandemic emergency which will be unprecedented during our life time. Absolutely no explanation is needed for Washington to “explain why the military is being given preference when that preference doesn’t fit the logic/system of how priorities were set”. In my view, if a person really believes that statement, they don’t have a clue what the military is and what they really do.

Simply, no superpower can afford the nightmare of massive numbers of incapacitated military and DOD personnel in charge of trillion and billion dollar extremely destructive weapon systems (e.g. satellites, nuclear aircraft carriers, nuclear missiles and weapons, stealth bombers, biological and chemical agents, fighter aircraft, nuclear attack submarines) in domestic or foreign countries, in the air or on the high seas. For example, simply imagine what the nightmare scenario might be if 3,000 personnel on a nuclear aircraft carrier or three fourths of the personnel on a nuclear attack sub fell ill with pandemic flu – pretty scary thought. Extend this thought process a little further, and not only the military, but other well known government agencies and large defense contractors, jointly manage the entire US satellite and communications systems and networks – if the experts who run this infrastructure fall ill -or die – guess what happens, no cell phones, no GPS, no internet, virtually the entire communications network in the US goes silent in short order. (e.g. probably no satellite coverage or satellites).

One final aspect of this subject also needs to be mentioned… the men and women of our military deserve every break we can give them. They are all entrusted with huge responsibilities, including life and death decisions. They deserve to be at the top of the list for the warriors they all are and they really would be called upon to be our “primary responders” to maintain law and order in a potentially catastrophic and terrifying world wide situation. Most of them, at one time or another serve long tours of duty away from the US and their families, they end up in harms way, are expected to make the ultimate sacrifice and unfortunately many of them die in the line of duty (unnecessarily in my opinion due to the Bush Administrations screwed up agenda and foreign policies).

Final comment: who are we absolutely sure is going to show up for work during a raging pandemic ? It won’t be 100% of the physicians, nurses, health care workers, firemen, policemen and ambulance personnel by a long shot, regardless of all the jaw flapping they do.

It will be the men and women in uniform, the military, who will show up for work and we better vaccinate them at the front of the line.


At 7:34 PM, Anonymous revere said...

Wulfgang: As Einstein said, things should be made as simple as possible but not simpler. The post in question made several points. One is the lack of transparency in the development of the priority plan, a transparency that was touted by DHHS but not there, at least not for this item. That was the main point and you are the one who missed it. Secondly, you imply the military -- all of it -- should come ahead of everyone else, although that is not what the plan says. No one but you maintains this as far as I know. But it follows directly from your argument. Thirdly, there are many people who come lower on the list who daily put their lives on the line for you and me and who will be of more use in a pandemic. Police, fire, emergency personnel. Not only do they show up for work but they put their life on the line when they do. Fourthly, the same people who are elevating "mission critical" personnel (do you know what critical mission is being referred to? You seem to know, so how about letting the rest of us in on the secret.) The people referred to in the plan are only a few of the people you want to give vaccines to ahead of everyone else. So you apparently also have a bone to pick with DHHS, not just me. Fifthly, those who give the military personnel their mission could care less for their welfare. For them these men and women are just cannon fodder and when they are no longer capable of carrying out their critical mission (decided by some old men not at risk) they throw them on the garbage heap. I know this as I was a VA doc caring for Gulf War I. vets. Utter disgrace, the way we treat vets. If you think they have been elevated to priority I status for their benefit you will be sadly disappointed.

So maybe it's not quite so simple. Or simplistic.


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