KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Swine Flu Vaccine Distribution To New York Companies Causes Uproar

The distribution of swine flu vaccines to big name companies in New York has caused an uproar as people complain that children and health care workers should receive top priority. The New York Times reports: "New York City health officials have distributed small amounts of the swine flu vaccine to some major New York companies, including Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, even as shortages continue. Citigroup has received 1,200 doses, more than half of what it requested, health officials said, and in late October, Goldman received 200 of the 5,400 doses it asked for."

"By contrast, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center received 200 of the 27,400 doses that it requested for its workers, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Jessica Scaperotti, a health department spokeswoman, said the priority was to get the vaccine to pediatricians, obstetricians, gynecologists, community health centers and public and private hospitals. Private companies that have asked for the vaccine are also eligible to receive it, as long as it is distributed to people who are considered at risk. Citigroup and Goldman Sachs said they had administered the vaccine to pregnant women and employees with serious health conditions" (Anderson, 11/5).

The Wall Street Journal reports: "The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged health officials around the country Thursday to ensure swine-flu vaccine is getting to high-risk groups, after criticism erupted over distribution to some Wall Street firms. ... But criticism of the move showed how much tension has emerged as thousands of children and others considered at risk of complications have waited hours in lines to be inoculated" (McKay, 11/6).

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