From NBC's Ali Weinberg
Congressman Roy Blunt (R-MO) criticized the Obama administration's handling of the swine flu virus breakout in overtly political terms today, linking shortages of the vaccine to America's "onerous regulatory and legal environment."
"Overseas manufacturers, particularly in Europe, are creating H1N1 vaccines at a much faster rate because they don't contend with the same inflexible regulatory environment that our domestic manufacturers face," Blunt said in a statement released by his office. "Only now, as flu season hits, do we find out that we don't have enough H1N1 vaccines to treat the most vulnerable Americans."
The Washington Post reported yesterday that only about 16.5 million doses of the swine flu vaccine have become available so far. In July, the Obama administration said 80 to 120 million doses would be available by October.
"The American people expect the federal government to protect them in the face of a pandemic," Blunt continued. "If the current administration cannot manage what is a basic responsibility of the federal government, how can they be expected to micro-manage doctor-patient relationships? Is this what we can expect from government-run health care?"
*** UPDATE *** A Republican operative reminds First Read that Democrats have used the swine-flu vaccine as a weapon against Republicans, too.
*** UPDATE II *** Now the Missouri Democratic Party reminds us that Blunt voted AGAINST the supplemental appropriations bill providing funding for the vaccine.