Prepare for voting mishaps

Voters that cast their ballots Tuesday have performed a large part of their civic duty, but there is another part for which they must be prepared.

The final part is to be patient.

With polls in Florida and other key swing states such as Ohio and Wisconsin indicating that President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry are running an extremely tight race, the probability that the election winner will be decided by Tuesday night is relatively low. Although the votes will be cast and the ballots counted, voters should be prepared for days or weeks of recounts.

After the election debacle of 2000, the chances of a repeat level of confusion are slim. However, the Republican and Democratic parties have a large group of lawyers on-hand to begin legal processes to contest results and improper voting procedures.

Because of the political climate at the moment, these proceedings may push the actual results of the race to not be released until mid to late November. So, voters must brace themselves for this possibility and not become overly excited with the results released on Tuesday night because the results may change.

Vaccine suppliers should prepare for shortages

What’s causing so many Americans as far away as Texas to make a trek to Canada? Flu shot hysteria, as media outlets are calling it.

It has been mounting since news came that a large supply of flu vaccines from a Great Britain manufacturer were flawed and had to be recalled. This has made vaccinations a scarce commodity in the United States since only two manufacturers are able to provide citizens with their supply, which pales when compared to the number of those who want it.

As a result, state health departments around the country have been announcing a process by which they will dole out available vaccinations. Not surprisingly, the elderly and extremely young are being put at the top of the list. But that still leaves out a larger population who is also susceptible to the weakening bug and those who just decided they need it too.

While this could reasonably be chalked up to another craze caused by media reports about the health industry’s flop, what seems like flu shot hysteria is not a panic at all. This is simply a basic principle of supply and demand. When a supplier is unable to match consumer demands with an adequate amount of service or goods, a shortage is created. Therefore, it becomes understandable why so many Americans are crossing the border to get a dose.

However, the question that continues to loom is why does the health industry depend on that big of a supply by foreign manufacturers? In the event that something exactly like this were to happen, there should be an ample homegrown stash available.