Critical Condition

Good News, Bad News

In a bit of good news on the swine flu front, Sinovac, a Chinese vaccine manufacturer, has reported that it has created a single-shot vaccine for H1N1. This is in contrast to the two shots many experts had been predicting.

At the same time, Bloomberg is reporting that the vaccines currently under development may not be able to provide immunity until November, which would be too late to halt a possible outbreak this fall.

Another bit of news will be coming this morning, as the Obama administration will issue guidance to businesses on how to handle H1N1. This announcement bears close watching. Until now, as I have argued previously, the Obama administration has benefited from the extensive preparations made by the Bush team in getting ready for a pandemic. These preparations served the Obama administration well this past spring, especially as they began the outbreak without a confirmed HHS secretary or a full-time CDC director. The actions the new team will take leading up to and during the upcoming flu season will be crucial for determining how well we deal with a possible pandemic. And with the new policies that they will be announcing tomorrow, the Obama administration will now be making this issue their own. Let’s hope they proceed wisely.

Tevi Troy is a presidential historian and former White House aide. His latest book is Fight House: Rivalries in the White House from Truman to Trump.