Swine Flu Vaccine Shortage? Not at Goldman Sachs
Of course. Now come on kids, let's all get worked into an outraged lather at once, shall we?
To the list of hundreds of schools, hospitals, and community health centers that have received limited allocations of the H1N1 swine flu vaccine, you can now add some of New York's largest employers. In the past week or so 13 companies, including Citigroup (C) and Goldman Sachs (GS), have begun receiving small quantities of the vaccine, according to city health authorities.
Citigroup has been supplied with 1,200 units and Goldman with 200, says Jessica Scaperotti, press secretary for the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. The agency has so far approved orders by 29 employers—including 16 that have yet to receive any vaccine—after they were cleared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Big employers that have received or are scheduled to receive vaccine so far include Time Warner (TWX), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Memorial Sloan-Kettering, New York Presbyterian Healthcare System, and New York University.
Health-care workers at those employers are bound by the CDC to distribute the vaccine only to populations deemed to be at high risk of developing serious complications from swine flu: pregnant women, children and young people aged 6 months to 24 years, people who live with or provide care for infants under 6 months (who cannot be vaccinated), people aged 24 to 64 with medical conditions that put them at higher risk for flu-related complications, and health-care workers and emergency medical personnel. A spokeswoman for Goldman, who asked not to be named, said the company had just received the vaccine and did not yet have information as to how it would be distributed, saying that Goldman will supply vaccine only to those who qualify as high-risk, per the CDC requirements. Citigroup had not responded with a comment as of the evening of Nov. 2.
Alright, before you grab the flaming pitchfork, keep in mind that it is Goldman's business model to be ahead of the curve (why do you think they are vaporizing gold ETFs?) so it's not that this is sinister, exactly, it's just that 5300 Goldman employees will be safe from Swine Flu and little New York schoolchildren will be lying in the gutter dying, that's all.
According to the city, Goldman has requested 5,300 doses. Only the company's two Manhattan locations are eligible to receive the vaccine because Goldman's other regional offices lack on-site health units, the spokesperson said. So far, only the 85 Broad St. location has received vaccine. The spokeswoman said the company knows of no employee who has fallen ill with swine flu, "but obviously you have to be prepared."
Like many large employers, Goldman Sachs has been preparing to deal with swine flu for months. "In addition to the internal planning effort, we have been actively engaged with key firms in our supply chain, industry peers, regulators and exchanges, and local health authorities to ensure mutual support and coordination of efforts," the company said in a public statement on May 6.
"It's not that they received it over someone else, it's that they placed an order…This is not out of the ordinary," says Scaperotti of the city's health office. "A lot of businesses hold vaccination programs for their employees. These locations are important vehicles for vaccinating people."
Go GS, way to plan ahead! You guys are so damn smart it's almost like you have Jesus on your side!