An Opinion from Salt Lake City, Utah
After months of reading letters to the editor, I would like to see a newspaper or Web site that compiles letters from different parts of the country to keep track of what people are thinking and how opinions are changing.
Here is a letter to the editor in today's Salt Lake City Tribune:
Bush doesn't understand
The Oct. 7 article regarding President Bush's action plan for bird flu vaccine preparation was appropriate and timely, but disheartening.
It is obvious that the president has no understanding of preparation for a pandemic of any nature, as evidenced by his focus on immunization manufacturing capacity by leading pharmaceutical companies.
Because our health-care system is primarily market driven, there is no incentive for these companies to produce costly immunization materials for 2 million to 20 million patients, especially when the specific bird flu strain remains unknown and immunization safety and efficacy remains untested. Given the erratic production and supply of flu vaccine last year, it is clear the current government systems and health-care market services remain relatively unprepared for an efficient response to a pandemic.
The president remains uncommitted to designing a public health-care system that could be appropriately prepared for a pandemic. His talking points remain rooted in the production of immunizations and not in health-care resource development for all segments of the U.S. population.
If estimations for adequate pandemic preparation are truly 2 million to 20 million, this represents less than half of all uninsured patients in this country. Not all uninsured individuals will have the money and access to obtain the immunizations that their middle- and upper-class counterparts will receive.
Emma Kurnat-Thoma, RN
Salt Lake City