The Swine Flu Democrats (Gitmo Edition)
2:05 AM, Oct 31, 2009 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Last week, President Obama declared a national emergency because of the H1N1 virus. What had been a matter of concern, was elevated, in the minds of many, to something that is cause for panic. Citizens across the country have spent hours trying to schedule an appointment for a vaccination. Others have waited in long lines in order to get a shot.
Parents of "at risk" children have been tying up the phone lines of their pediatricians trying to find out who has the vaccine and where they might go to get their kids a shot. Parents in a Milwaukee suburb spent hours in the rain waiting for a shot. A group of concerned mothers from Maryland will be waking their children before dawn Saturday and driving nearly an hour to wait in line for who knows how long -- all in the hopes of scoring one of 800 vaccinations available in a neighboring county. Pediatricians are waking up in the middle of the night after nightmares about a vaccine shortage.
Frustration and anger have been building but there had not been an obvious target for those feelings. That may have changed late Friday afternoon with the news that the Pentagon has offered to give swine flu shots to detainees and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Major Diana Haynie, a spokesman for the Joint Task Force at Gitmo, explained the decision this way.
Really? Higher risk than who? Pregnant women are six times more likely than others to have a fatal bout of swine flu -- and yet some of them have been unable to get a shot. The shortage is so severe that state and local health officials have been forced to cancel and reschedule vaccination clinics, and to adjust their strategies about who gets a shot and when. According to this article:
The CDC forgot to list Gitmo detainees. "JTF Guantanamo conducts safe, humane, legal and transparent care and custody of detainees. As such, we must provide detainees the medical care necessary to maintain their health," said the Gitmo spokesman.
So Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, the man who conceived the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3000 Americans, is eligible for a swine flu vaccination. But Kristin Bencik, a pediatrician working overtime to treat kids suspected of having swine flu, has chosen to forego a shot so that she is not taking one away from one of her vulnerable patients. And she is really a "higher risk" case -- she's pregnant.
It's worth wondering what effect all of this will have on efforts by Democrats to pass a $1 trillion overhaul of the US health care system.
As Bill Kristol notes:
It's a good question. And he asked it before word leaked that the terrorists in Gitmo are eligible to receive those coveted shots while thousands upon thousands of normal American taxpayers cannot get one.
If you thought people were angry in August...