Letter To The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, Department Of Health And Human Services
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree is demanding an explanation of reports that executives at Wall Street banks have been getting vaccinations for the H1N1 virus while high-risk individuals are going without.
"I was stunned to hear that investment bankers at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan may be getting these flu shots while children, pregnant women and health care workers in Maine are still waiting for theirs," Pingree said. "I'm afraid this is going to turn out to be another example of Wall Street thinking that they live by a different set of rules than the rest of us."
In a meeting on Friday with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Pingree expressed her deep concern about these reports.
"We made it clear to the Secretary that we weren't happy with the idea that these investment banks might be getting vaccines ahead of the public," Pingree said.
Pingree followed up her meeting with Sebelius with a letter urging her to look into the situation closely.
November 9, 2009
The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20201
Dear Secretary Sebelius,
Thank you for taking the time to meet with the Rules Committee last week. It was a pleasure to talk to you again about health care reform, and the needs of people in Maine. I wanted to follow up with you on our conversation about the outrageous reports that Wall Street executives are receiving the H1N1 vaccine before working families in Maine. These are the same Wall Street executives who benefited from billions of dollars in taxpayer assistance, and helped bring about this economic downturn that we are all fighting to reverse.
Although Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working tirelessly to vaccinate as many people as possible, the vaccine continues to come in too slowly. The Maine CDC estimates that they are only vaccinating one out of every five people who are in one of the high priority groups.
While Maine families face uncertainty over whether there will be enough vaccines for them, it is unacceptable that Wall Street executives move to the front of the line. The H1N1 vaccines should be distributed to those who need them most. Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to working with you on this very important issue.
Member of Congress