The talk radio fear mongering over healthcare reform hit a new low today, as Sean Hannity invoked death panels to allege that senior citizens will be last on the list for swine flu vaccinations. Hannity insinuated that the Obama administration is intentionally denying seniors swine flu shots. while undercutting his claims by saying that seniors are less likely to get the swine flu.
Here is the audio courtesy of Media Matters:
Hannity lamented that healthy seniors are being sent to the back of the line for swine flu vaccine. Pregnant women, those who live with or care for children six months or younger, healthcare workers, people age 6-24, healthcare workers and people with chronic health problems and compromised immune systems will get vaccinated first.
Hannity said, “They are arguing that seniors have built up immunity over their lifetime, so they are less likely to contract the disease apparently based on what Obama administration health experts, government doctors cited in the story are telling them, but they also say that seniors are the most vulnerable when it comes to getting the flu, and for most of the flu deaths in the country, so the claim that their immune system, you know it sort of defies logic here, is going to protect them.”
He then went into full on fear mongering, “So if grandma dies, if the government doctors decide they don’t have any vaccine left, and they determine the order of who gets the vaccine, why would you expect Obamacare to be any different? By the way, I hope all you senior citizens are listening out there. It shows they have almost already implementing this they decide who gets what when strategy, and by the way, you won’t folks. You’re last on the list.”
Hannity has concocted an argument to scare seniors based on confusing the statistics for the regular and the swine flu. The swine flu is not the same virus as the regular flu, so seniors can still get their regular flu shot and be protected from the strain that is most dangerous for them. The swine flu is hitting younger people. Seniors aren’t as vulnerable to the swine flu.
The reason why younger people are supposed to get inoculated first is because they are the ones spreading the virus. The outbreaks are occurring in schools and colleges which aren’t places that seniors frequent. Obama isn’t denying them their swine flu shot. The government is trying to prevent an epidemic, but if it was up to Sean Hannity, he would vaccinate the least vulnerable in the population, thus ensuring an epidemic.
The CDC has issued flu vaccination guidelines for decades. The guidelines are recommendations to healthcare providers, not orders. I guess Ronald Reagan also was trying to ration care when his CDC issued guidelines. Using this logic, the government doctors of George W. Bush were also making healthcare decisions when they issued guidelines too.
Sean Hannity’s argument is devoid of facts, and completely designed to scare seniors. He began this campaign against senior on his FNC show last night, but even for him, this is low. What if doctors start giving the vaccine to people who don’t really need it, because seniors were panicked by people like Hannity? I can easily see the result of this fear mongering being, lots of vaccinated people who don’t need it, while we have a swine flu epidemic raging through our schools. How many young people is Hannity willing to make sick to kill healthcare reform?