The H1N1 vaccine has generated some controversy but whatever thoughts you may have on it, one thing is for certain: Americans should have first dibs on the vaccine. Well, the Obama administration doesn't seem to see it that way. While the country faces a vaccine shortage, the Pentagon will soon ship enough vaccines to Guantanamo to cover those poor, tortured detainees.
Terrorism suspects held at the Guantanamo Bay naval base will soon get swine flu vaccines, despite complaints that American civilians should have priority, a military spokesman said Sunday.
Army Maj. James Crabtree, a spokesman for the U.S. jail facility in southeast Cuba, said the doses should start arriving this month, with guards and then inmates scheduled for inoculations.
He acknowledged there may be an "emotional response" from critics who argue that terror suspects should not be allocated swine-flu medications while members of the U.S. public are still waiting due to a vaccine shortage.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) is urging the Administration to rethink this decision:
I don't know if detainees at Gitmo should never be given the H1N1 vaccine," Pence told CNN during an interview. "But, certainly, at a time of such acute shortages, again, involving American citizens... I think the administration should immediately suspend the plan to deploy H1N1 vaccines to terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay, until such a time that sufficient vaccinations are made available to the American public."
And so is Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI):
As long as Americans must wait to receive the vaccine, the detainees in Guantanamo Bay should not be given preferential treatment to receive the H1N1 vaccination," Stupak said in a letter to Secretary of the Army John McHugh.
This cartoon from 2004 pretty much sums up this whole thing.