Obama's Swine Flu Shot Dilemma

(AP/CBS)
The president is what would is called a "key employee" in corporate America. While his compensation isn't other worldly ($400,000 per year), his influence in the world order is immense. If he were to become ill or incapacitated, the country and the connected planet would be destabilized to some degree.

CBSNews.com Special Report: H1N1

Therefore, protecting the president against natural and unnatural threats to his wellbeing is a very high priority. Apparently, that priority doesn't include getting vaccinated as soon as possible against the H1N1 flu virus.

The logic offered by the White House is that as a healthy adult with no underlying conditions, Mr. Obama doesn't fall into a priority group designated to receive the H1N1 flu vaccination at this time. He received the plain-old flu shot earlier this month, but will wait until the H1N1 flu vaccine is available to the general population before he gets the promised immunity given by the vaccine.

Given the issues around supply and demand for the vaccine, determining what constitutes "general availability" to the U.S. population will be an interesting call.

Mr. Obama is being rational by calculating the risk of his getting infected with the H1N1 virus and suffering a bad or even fatal case of the flu to be very unlikely. He is also exercising his political correctness in hold off on getting himself vaccinated, as if he were the general population.

But while he tries to be a "man of the people," the president is not the general population. This is a person who drives around in Cadillac tank; is surrounded by hardened Secret Service agents; has two jumbo jets and a fleet of helicopters for his frequent travels around the globe; and even has his own secret underground bunker command center in case of threats to national security, such as the attacks on 9/11.

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Daniel Farber is editor-in-chief of CBSNews.com.
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