The swine of Wall Street

Money may not be able to buy happiness, but it can buy your health. Goldman Sachs and Citigroup have received the short-in-supply and high-in-demand vaccine for H1N1, or swine flu.

Money may not be able to buy happiness, but it can buy your health. Goldman Sachs and Citigroup have received the short-in-supply and high-in-demand vaccine for H1N1, or swine flu.

The Associated Press reported that Goldman Sachs received 200 doses of the vaccine for their at-risk employees and Citigroup received 1,200 doses. Throughout the city of New York there so far have been 800,000 doses delivered to 1,400 health care providers. This also includes pediatricians, public schools and hospitals.

Supposedly, the vaccines at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are going to only go to those people who are in high-risk groups.

Wait a second—a number of news stories regarding the swine flu have reported that those who are in high-risk groups of children, pregnant women, the chronically ill and people in their early 20s.

However, on Friday, Nov. 13, The Oregonian reported that state officials said they would no longer target healthy children and young adults as priority groups for the vaccine.

They would instead focus on those at the highest risk, which still include pregnant women and people with underlying chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

How many people at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup qualify for that?

This is not to say that there are not high-risk people within these companies who deserve the vaccine, but giving the much-needed vaccine to Wall Street businesses just proves that those in poverty are at a greater risk for illnesses.

On Saturday, Nov. 14, MSNBC reported that people in New York City, N.Y., were waiting in line in the rain for the swine flu vaccine. In one week, 23 children died from the illness. At least they weren’t Wall Street businesspeople, right?

Lines for the vaccine grow longer and longer throughout the country while Wall Street traders sit in their overpriced offices, getting paid a ridiculous amount of money while knowing they’re safe from the dreaded swine flu.

Businesses such as this should follow the example of Morgan Stanley. The Associated Press reported that spokesperson Jeanmarie McFadden said the company turned over their supply to local hospitals when they learned that they got the vaccine ahead of some hospitals.

The Oregon Department of Human Services reports that 823 Oregonians have been hospitalized due to flulike symptoms and 23 people have died since Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Among the latest is Lewis & Clark College graduate student Kris Kerstiens who, on Saturday, Oct. 31, died due to H1N1 complications, and 44-year-old David Hill from McMinnville, who passed away Wednesday, Oct. 28.

The Oregonian stated that Hill was reported the first person to die from H1N1 complications in Yamhill County.
He was a diabetic recovering from a heart attack. Kerstiens, however, had no underlying chronic conditions. He played football at Beaverton High School, graduated from Oregon State University and was studying to become a history teacher at Lewis & Clark.

It seems that people who need the swine flu vaccine the most may not work on Wall Street. Why should someone who is not in the high-risk group receive less of the short supply just because their socioeconomic status?
Corporate businesses should not receive the vaccine before hospitals.

So who is at fault? The Centers for Disease Control who gave these businesses the vaccine doses over hospitals and other people in the high-risk groups, or is it the corporations who accepted the vaccines? They are both in the wrong. The only group not at fault is Morgan Stanley, who gave their entire supply away.

Bottom line: Money and status should not decide who gets access first to the limited vaccine—it should go to the people who need it the most.

What do you think?
Swine flu vaccine distribution

Does the buying of H1N1 vaccine by Goldman Sachs and Citigroup illustrate a division in our country between the haves and the have-nots? Should companies be able to buy out vaccines that are in short supply during a pandemic—especially when there are large numbers of people in serious danger from the illness?

What do you think? Tell the Vanguard. Write a letter to the editor and drop it off at the Vanguard office or e-mail it to [email protected]. The Vanguard wants to hear from you.