Rush Limbaugh Is Playing The Blame Game

Posted by Clark Venable on 10/17/2004

Michelle Malkin has a quick note on the flu vaccine shortage, and points to a Rush Limbaugh piece: Clintons Ruined Vaccine Industry. Rush basically argues that it's all Hillary's fault because of her role in the Government Vaccine Buying Program. This is a classic case of hindsight bias; the tendency of people with outcome knowledge to exaggerate the extent to which they would have predicted the event beforehand. Yes, I'm sticking up for Hillary here. It IS a powerful example of why the approach taken by the vaccine buying program is flawed. What we should be doing is asking ourselves whether we need to make changes vis-a-vis our other vaccine programs.

The October 14, 2004 Wall Street Journal editorial 'Infectious Politics' (reproduced here) has some disturbing statistics:

  • Hib1 3
  • Influenza 2
  • Hepatitis A 2
  • Hepatitis B 2
  • DTaP2 2
  • Measles, mumps, rubella 1
  • Tetanus 1
  • Tetanus-diphtheria 1
  • Polio 1
  • Chickenpox 1
  • Pneumococcal conjugate (children) 1
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide (adults) 1
  • Meningococcal 1

and asks the question:

" "Whether or not Chiron disclosed enough about its manufacturing woes is an issue of financial regulation. The main question for public health ought to be how did we arrive at a place where closing a single plant can endanger so many people?" "

Let's stop playing the blame game and figure out how to improve our vaccine production system. To again quote the WSJ piece:

" "There's no shortage of ideas for how to promote greater vaccine production, with many of the best ideas coming from the few manufacturers that remain. Now would be a good time to hear them out. As deadly as the flu is, consider the dangers of such infectious diseases as measles or whooping cough. Those are the next outbreaks to worry about if Washington keeps blaming everyone but itself for the vaccine crisis." "

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