Tuesday, November 01, 2005

In Other News...

Today, I am going to get my flu shot. Also today, President Bush has asked Congress to put up $7.1 billion to prepare for Avian Flu, should it become a pandemic. Here are the details:

—$1.2 billion for the government to buy enough doses of the vaccine against the current strain of bird flu to protect 20 million Americans;

—$1 billion to stockpile more anti-viral drugs that lessen the severity of the flu symptoms;

—$2.8 billion to speed the development of vaccines as new strains emerge, a process that now takes months;

—$583 million for states and local governments to prepare emergency plans to respond to an outbreak.

The President is also calling for some tort reform for vaccine makers:

The president also said the United States must approve liability protection for the makers of lifesaving vaccines.

A good idea, since it will get more drug companies involved in making vaccines.

I've said in the past that we are getting into a frenzy about bird flu. I still think that's true, but I also have said we do need to prepare. President Bush's call isn't about hype, but prudence. We need to prepare, not just for bird flu, but whenever a pandemic strikes.

I would urge people to contact the Representatives and Senators today and ask them to tackle this issue without delay.


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