Recently, the GOP’s resident leprechaun, Sean Hannity, used his television program to attempt fear mongering regarding health care rationing, claiming that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) “literally [has] a list of priorities” regarding which populations receive the H1N1 flu vaccine, and that people age 65 and older are “last on the list,” which amounts to “a form of government deciding rationing.”
Fact is Sean, the CDC’s advisory board explained that it does not anticipate a shortage of H1N1 vaccine but issued the priorities list because “availability and demand can be unpredictable” and said that the “risk for infection among persons age 65 or older is less than the risk for younger age groups.”
The CDC advisory board has said, “The committee does not expect that there will be a shortage of novel H1N1 vaccine.” In a press release titled, “CDC Advisors Make Recommendations for Use of Vaccine Against Novel H1N1,” CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices created a list of “groups of the population [that] should be prioritized if the vaccine is initially available in extremely limited quantities” but stated, “The committee does not expect that there will be a shortage of novel H1N1 vaccine.” The committee added: “But availability and demand can be unpredictable. There is some possibility that initially the vaccine will be available in limited quantities.”
CDC advisory board: People age 65 or older are less at risk than younger age groups. The press release also stated, “Current studies indicate the risk for infection among persons age 65 or older is less than the risk for younger age groups.”
From the CDC press release:
“There is some possibility that initially the vaccine will be available in limited quantities. In this setting, the committee recommended that the following groups receive the vaccine before others:
- pregnant women,
- people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age,
- health care and emergency medical services personnel with direct patient contact,
- children 6 months through 4 years of age, and
- children 5 through 18 years of age who have chronic medical conditions.
“The committee recognized the need to assess supply and demand issues at the local level. The committee further recommended that once the demand for vaccine for these prioritized groups has been met at the local level, programs and providers should begin vaccinating everyone from ages 25 through 64 years. Current studies indicate the risk for infection among persons age 65 or older is less than the risk for younger age groups. Therefore, as vaccine supply and demand for vaccine among younger age groups is being met, programs and providers should offer vaccination to people over the age of 65.
“The committee also stressed that people over the age of 65 receive the seasonal vaccine as soon as it is available.”
The sad and amazing fact is that Hannity is deliberately lying, and he knows it. Or at least he should know it. He’s supposedly a “great American” but he spends a great deal of his time and energy spreading half-truths and out right lies.
While attacking the current CDC’s decision, Hannity conveniently forgot that during the Bush administration, the CDC also released a flu shot priority list.
In 2004, the CDC “announced priority groups” for seasonal flu shots due to a shortage. The CDC announced that the United Kingdom had suspended the license of a company that was making that year’s seasonal flu shot for use in the United States and stated that “[t]his will reduce by approximately one half the expected supply of trivalent inactivated vaccine (flu shot) available in the United States for the 2004-05 influenza season.” As a result, CDC issued a list of “priority groups for vaccination with inactivated influenza vaccine this season”:
The CDC in 2004 also put out its list of priority groups for vaccination with inactivated influenza vaccine:
- all children aged 6-23 months,
- adults aged 65 years and older,
- persons aged 2-64 years with underlying chronic medical conditions,
- all women who will be pregnant during influenza season,
- residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities,
- children 6 months-18 years of age on chronic aspirin therapy,
- health-care workers with direct patient care, and out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children aged <6 months.”
At the time, Hannity defended Bush administration and declared that certain people “don’t need a flu shot.” On the October 21, 2004, edition of Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes, Hannity stated, “The Kerry campaign has slammed Vice President Cheney for getting a flu shot while many Americans cannot”.
Hannity later asserted to Democratic strategist Bob Beckel: “You and I have been friends a number of years and I’ve had other friends that had this. You need a flu shot. I’m pretty healthy. I don’t need a flu shot. Dick Cheney needs one. Bill Clinton needs one. I understand Hillary got her flu shot.” Hannity also said: “I thought this was a cheap shot.”
Of course for some the idea of rationed health care is the current mantra, one from which Hannity has repeatedly drawn.
Recently, June 19, 2009, he said Government rationing body will “tell women with breast cancer, ‘you’re dead.’ ”
“We’re going to have a government rationing body that tells women with breast cancer, ‘you’re dead.’ It’s a death sentence.”
Hannity has attempted to scare people into believing that the Federal Government is going to decide who lives and who dies through the President’s health care reform, “Welcome to the brave new world of Obamacare,” he said. “We’re going to encourage, you know, inconvenient people to consider ‘alternatives to living.'”
There are never any real examples of these allegations. Sean – the great American – says it and therefore it is true.
During his July 17 he declared that the government would be pulling the plug on grandma, “It sounds to me like they’re actually encouraging seniors in the end, ‘Well, you may just want to consider packing it all in here, this is — ‘ what other way is there to describe this?”
“So that they don’t become a financial burden on the Obamacare system? I mean, that’s how they intend to cut cost, by cutting down on the health care we can give and get at the end of our lives and dramatically cutting it down for senior citizens? You know, welcome to the brave new world of Obamacare. We’re going to encourage, you know, inconvenient people to consider ‘alternatives to living.'”
Sean this is – how would a certain Congressman from South Carolina put it? – A Lie! Fact is that your favorite form of health care, insurance agency owned and run health care, is already rationing health care. Tens of thousands of Americans die each year because they have been rationed. They’ve been told they can’t get coverage.
Truth is there will be no death panel. There will not be rationed health care, as there is now. The plug will not be pulled on Grandma. Flu vaccinations are not being rationed. Truth is that you Sean Hannity are a liar. You are preying upon fear and using that fear to spread your lies.