Russell Calls For Investigation in H1N1 Vaccine Distribution

Wall Street bankers receive vaccine while North Country struggles to target vulnerable populations
November 17, 2009

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell has sent a letter to Attorney General Cuomo, Governor David Paterson and several state and federal government and health officials expressing outrage over the distribution of the H1N1 vaccine to big Wall Street corporations and calling for an investigation into distribution practices.

“Wall Street firms – recently bailed out by our government and its working families – have already taken enough from us,” Russell said. “It’s simply unacceptable that Wall Street executives have access to private shipments of H1N1 vaccinations while health care workers and other at-risk New Yorkers wait in line for hours or get turned away because of shortages.”

Russell’s letter, sent to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Governor David A. Paterson, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and New York State Department of Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, urges that an immediate investigation be conducted into how and why Wall Street companies received supplies of the H1N1 vaccine before they went to at-risk groups, including pregnant women and children.

“These Wall Street Bankers, the very same ones who were recently bailed out while collecting multi-million dollar bonuses are attempting to make the case that they are the ones who are at the front line in helping our economy recover from this economic depression,” Assemblywoman Russell said. “One went as far as saying they are ‘doing God’s work,’ and because of this, they are entitled to these vaccines. I wholeheartedly disagree. It is our hard-working men and women, our manufacturing workers, our farmers, our skilled laborers and health care workers who will help this economy rebound.”

Russell said in the North Country, health officials are implementing plans to target the small amount of vaccines they were able to receive to its most vulnerable populations, including emergency first responders, pregnant women and children. In addition, counties are taking on additional costs to better store and administer these vaccines.

“I am calling for this investigation to determine who found it acceptable to allow our vulnerable populations, working families and counties to struggle while Wall Street bankers once again get bailed out,” concluded Russell.