We can all breathe a little easier now,
November 28, 2001 10:58 PM   Subscribe

We can all breathe a little easier now, but it comes at a hefty price - $428 million. That's a boatload of money for a security blanket we may not even need. It's times like this, though, that make me happy (not necessarily proud) to be an American. What do you think?
posted by catatonic (11 comments total)
 
Catatonic, if you find the line-item in the budget for pentagon toilet seats, it'll probably equal $428 million. /cynicism
posted by SpecialK at 11:33 PM on November 28, 2001


national deficit
posted by ericrolph at 2:38 AM on November 29, 2001


Which one?
posted by pracowity at 4:38 AM on November 29, 2001


I guess I'm not quite sure why the vaccine is just being stockpiled rather than starting a national immunization program - or is smallpox one of those vaccines who's efficacy wears off over time?

Is cost of the program the issue? It's a cost we expect to eventually incur and it would seem to make sense to work out the bugs in the distribution and storage system now, while there isn't the sense of urgency from people dying in the streets.

Or is this just really like that X-Files episode in which we learned that vaccines were really a government plot to get/extract alien DNA?
posted by warhol at 5:22 AM on November 29, 2001


As I understand it (from an NPR story), they plan on using the same technique used to eradicate the disease in the first place: inoculate the family and close associates of each infected person; then, if necessary, inoculate those who have had contact with the "first level" contacts.

Unless there have been actual outbreaks, I'm not in any big hurry to be shot up with something that can, however rarely, cause encephalitis.
posted by groundhog at 5:57 AM on November 29, 2001


I guess I'm not quite sure why the vaccine is just being stockpiled rather than starting a national immunization program - or is smallpox one of those vaccines who's efficacy wears off over time?

It's actually one of those vaccines that has the potential to kill around 1 in 10,000 of those receiving it, which makes a national programme in the US rather too much of a risk. Fortunately, the vaccine is effective even if administered up to a couple of weeks after initial infection, which means the "rapid response" approach is the smart one here.
posted by holgate at 6:10 AM on November 29, 2001


According to the same NPR story that groundhog heard, you've got four days after being infected with smallpox to get the vaccine.
posted by jennyb at 6:15 AM on November 29, 2001


At $2.76 per dose I wouldn't exact call that $428 million a "hefty price." More like bargain basement.
posted by ljromanoff at 8:24 AM on November 29, 2001


286 million doses? The fact that they would produce that many suggests that there's a huge smallpox attack in the works or a very strong fear of one. Its one thing that have a few million on hand to control various outbreaks and another thing to cover an entire country.
posted by skallas at 8:43 AM on November 29, 2001


I've just begun reading Elizabeth A. Fenn's "Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82." This is a nightmare of a disease. "...the smallpox scourge of 1775-82 coincided almost perfectly with the American Revolution and took many more lives than the war with the British did..."
posted by Carol Anne at 3:03 PM on November 29, 2001


Well, there is a threat. The CDC has smallpox, so do Russian research labs (with many pissed off un-paid Russian scientists), Iraq, North Korea, Libya, and I think one or two other countries has it as well. It's about time we got some vaccines, really. The only problem I can see is how we deliver the vaccines to affected areas in time.
posted by Theiform at 6:15 PM on November 29, 2001


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