why is there no flu vaccine?

i’ll tell you why: because the global economy means that industries worldwide are getting consolidated into one or two major players per biz, and that’s a bad idea when it comes to the infrastructure of public health.

i don’t know specifically why chiron had a contamination problem, but regardless, that kind of thing happens. even if it’s due to gross negligence or stupidity, it’s a good example of the downside to globalization. the infrastructure needs to be distributed. the problem, of course, is that distribution is expensive. if there were a bunch more players in that industry, all over the world, the doses would probably be more expensive and thus harder to get as well.

and really, consolidation’s not really a problem as long as manufacturing and distribution were managed well. folks don’t care if only a few companies dominate the field, as long as an accident or a badly managed plant or whatever don’t instantly wipe out half the global supply of a vaccine.

my family’s never gotten flu shots anyway. most of the time it seems to be a bunch of scare tactics for a disease that’s only really dangerous to a weak immune system.

update: the nyt did an interesting article on the backstory of the shortage.

Leave a Reply