Politics and H1N1

By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Is the serious nature of the H1N1 virus now being overshadowed by political bias?

22-million doses of H1N1 vaccine are now available in the United States. The CDC says production is increasing, and 8-million of those doses became available in the last week alone. We're told the virus' strain has not changed so the vaccine is still effective. Despite the progress, President Obama declared H1N1 a national emergency, highlighting the of seriousness of the outbreak. Some say this move was purely political, while others argue that politics shouldn't matter when it comes to keeping your family safe.

"I think that anything that has to do with health care one way or the other we are going to see politicized," said Dr. Ken Haygood, a family doctor.

Haygood has received his first batch of H1N1 vaccines - the same vaccines used to fight a virus he says has become very political.

"Especially now, in this environment in Washington," said Haygood.

It's an environment where politicians stress the enormity of H1N1. President Obama declared it a national emergency.

"What I know is, a lot of Americans, myself included, would really rather see him start paying attention to national problems that really do require presidential leadership, like what's going to happen with our troops in Afghanistan, instead of seeing him make himself relevant to medical problems," said Haygood.

The president's declaration is not the only thing politicized. Some blame the administration for vaccine delays.

"I do think that a lot of the promises that were made early were very premature," said Haygood.

While Haygood points out the H1N1 issue's presence in the political arena, Dr. Jonathan MacClemments says H1N1 should not be a political issue.

"The concern with illness becoming a political issue and falling into the political arena is the real message might get lost, and the message here with H1N1 is that it is a pandemic," said MacClements, who practices family medicine at UTHSCT.

It is a pandemic that has already gripped nearly every state, causing sickness and death.

"So, it would be a real tragedy if this became about the politics and not really taking care of the patient," said MacClements. "We will leave the politics to the politicians."

At the end of the day, these doctors want what's best for their patients.

What do you think? Has politics impacted the way people view the H1N1 outbreak? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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