21 October 2004

MSNBC - No flu vaccine shortage at Capitol

WASHINGTON - While many Americans search in vain for flu shots, members and employees of Congress are able to obtain them quickly and at no charge from the Capitol's attending physician, who has urged all 535 lawmakers to get the vaccines even if they are young and healthy.

...

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.), a heart surgeon, sent letters urging his 99 colleagues to get the shots because they mingle and shake hands with so many people...

Eisold "is a big believer that members of Congress are at high risk, because they shake hands with a lot of people" and then visit veterans centers and other concentrations of susceptible people, his spokesman said. Because lawmakers can be both victims and spreaders of flu, he said, Eisold urged all 535 to get the shots.

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), 62, said in an interview yesterday: "We're not in the priority category" set by the CDC. "But I think the [Capitol's] doctor makes a good case. We can pick it up and spread it" through interactions with constituents.

OK, I understand that with all that hand-shaking and baby kissing, Senators think they should line up for the vaccine the rest of us can't get. But where does that leave us subway riders who pack in with thousands of people every day. Don't we rate?

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