From the NY Times, the blame game begins:
At a hearing before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, representatives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security argued that they were right not to put immune-boosting adjuvants in the vaccine even though that could have quadrupled the number of doses available now, and that they were also right to leave decisions about allocating vaccine up to local health departments instead of trying to micromanage them from Atlanta or Washington.
The shortage, the representatives said, was proof that the country needs its own new vaccine plants instead of relying on factories, most of them overseas, using 50-year-old technology.
Even though the government has inspectors watching every batch of vaccine made, “things go wrong,” said Dr. Nicole Lurie, chief of preparedness and response for the Health and Human Services Department. “We need a new way of making vaccines so we’re not dependent on the vagaries of growing virus in eggs.”
Of course, Senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins are leading charge, because why do something meaningful about healthcare when you can beat up the CDC? As far as I’m concerned, the only thing wrong the CDC did was to not order around 300-400 million doses of vaccine (since vaccine manufacturers never hit their targets)–of course, had they done that, conservatives would have been wailing like the bane sidhe about wasting money on too much vaccine (of course, giving it away would have been a really good foreign policy initiative…)
And then there’s adjuvants, which are used to boost the vaccine, allowing more doses per amount of ‘raw’ vaccine:
Dr. Lurie said the adding of adjuvants had been discussed repeatedly but would have meant pulling doses off the production line. Also, she said, because anti-vaccine activists have expressed a fear of adjuvants, even though they are naturally occurring oils that have been used safely in Europe for a decade, public confidence in the vaccine was “not as robust as we’d like it to be” and officials feared some people would avoid shots.
TEH THIMEROSALS R MELTING TEH BRAINZ!!!
So, let’s see:
1) EPIC MANUFACTURER FAIL.
2) No funding to create a vaccine surplus.
3) Anti-vaccination lunacy.
This is obviously the CDC’s fault.