This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," October 17, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
PAUL GIGOT, FOX HOST: This week on the "Journal Editorial Report," the first swine flu vaccines have arrived. But fear may be spreading faster than the virus itself. Why all the confusion?
And Obamacare's big business enablers. What the health care industry hope to get from signing on, and why they're having second thoughts.
Plus, the Dow hits 10,000, even as the dollar continues its decline. What it all means for our fragile economy.
Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report," I'm Paul Gigot.
The first doses of vaccine for H1N1, commonly known as swine flu have arrived to hospitals and doctor's offices, but confusion and fear are spreading almost as quickly as the virus itself as federal and state health officials began the complicated effort of dispensing the vaccine on a wide scale.
CDC Director Tom Frieden warned it will be a challenging few weeks and that may be an understatement. Confusion abounds about who should be getting the vaccine and the Internet and airways are abuzz with concerns about its safety.
Tevi Troy was the deputy of Health and Human Services from 2007 to 2009, currently a visiting senior fellow at The Hudson Institute, and advises companies on flu preparations.
Tevi Troy, great to have you here. So how prepared are we overall across the country for the swine flu?
TEVI TROY, FORMER DEPUTY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES & SENIOR FELLOW, THE HUDSON INSTITUTE: Great. Thanks for having me, Paul. I think we're pretty well prepared. There are really three steps to preparations for any kind of pandemic or any type of bio-event. There's preparation and we've done a good job on that. That's stockpiling the counter measures, that is getting the vaccine, making sure the vaccine is ready to be produced. That's having the things available and knowing how to deploy them and also having exercises so federal officials know what to do if it happens.
Second is messaging. And I think the CDC has been very good at this, sending a calming influence on the airwaves, having Twitter, Facebook YouTube pages. So I think we've been good on the messaging.
And third is execution. Execution is the hardest. That's what the Dr. Frieden was talking about, how it's hard to get it to the hospitals and to the people who need it. It's hard to see how people will react. We also see that some states do better than others in the execution.
GIGOT: But I want to take the issue of vaccine availability. We've seen anecdotal reports of men and women, mothers and fathers, taking their kids into the doctors and hospitals and there not being enough swine flu vaccine to help them. What is the problem there?
TROY: Well, that's a distribution problem and some places haven't ordered enough. Some — in some places, it's hard to get the material there as fast as you need it. So we always would game out the distribution aspects and it's hard to get the material to where you need it in the amounts of time you need to get it there.
GIGOT: Because nobody knows exactly where the really hot spots are going to be, is that the problem?
TROY: That's part of it, but also it's a huge country with 300 million people and you've got to get the materials everywhere and everybody wants it at once.
GIGOT: What about some of the states? We know from some of the states, I think, there are five of them, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Oregon and Montana, which have really only — that have less than 10 percent of the flu stockpile that they're supposed to have. What is the role of the states here and have some of them been dropping the ball?
TROY: When you're talking about the flu stockpile, that's the anti- virals, the vaccine from preventing you from getting it, that's the anti-viral that has a prophylactic effect and diminishes the impact of the virus.
GIGOT: One is Tamiflu?
TROY: And the other is Relenza, so those are the two key ones. When I was in the federal government, we came up with a flu plan where you had 50 million doses, or actually courses — a course is multiple doses. We had 50 million courses in the Strategic National Stockpile. And the states would have enough to serve 10 percent of their populations. And so every state is supposed to hit the 10 percent mark. And those five states that you mentioned are not even close to hitting the 10 percent mark. They're not even at 10 percent of the 10 percent.