Something Else to Feel Guilty About
First, you devastated the housing market. Then, you wiped out a generation's retirement accounts. Now, you're taking flu vaccine away from those who need it. As the Associated Press so charmingly put it: "When it comes to receiving the swine flu vaccine, Wall Street appears to outrank children. "
New York City distributes flu vaccine through workplace clinics, as well as doctor's offices, hospitals and other health care providers. The fact that the likes of Goldman Sachs and Citigroup dared to apply for doses to administer to high-risk employees has raised the ire of some.
Never mind the fact the banks simply asked for doses in the same way other New York City businesses did. And never mind the fact the CDC believes workplace clinics are an effective distribution channel for vaccines. "Wall Street banks have already taken so much from us ... they should not be allowed to take away our health and well-being," wrote Service Employees International Union official John VanDeventer on the union's Web site, according to AP.
Goldman received 200 doses for its 8,700 employees in New York. Citigroup received 1,200 doses. Both banks received fewer doses than they'd asked for, and gave the vaccine only to pregnant women and employees with serious health conditions. (Morgan Stanley received 1,000 doses of the vaccine, but returned them to New York City.)
An advocacy group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, has asked the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate. According to Dow Jones, the group says "it is safe to assume" the majority of employees at the banks aren't among the groups considered to be at high risk (which includes pregnant women and adults with chronic medical conditions).
Well, I can't argue with that. On the other hand, the banks didn't get nearly enough vaccine to inoculate "the majority of employees."
But do I believe that 2.2 percent of Goldman's New York staff might include pregnant women and people with asthma or another chronic condition? I certainly do. After all, they might be masters of the universe, but they're only human.
Who's getting flu shots at your office? Chime in with your thoughts by posting a comment below.