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WHO to examine its H1N1 response

Source CBC News

The World Health Organization will review accusations it overstated the risks of the H1N1 virus.

The most recent complaints about WHO’s handling of the pandemic came from the Council of Europe, a political forum, where last week parliamentarian Wolfgang Wodarg called H1N1 a “false pandemic.” In November 2009, Dr. Richard Schabas, Ontario’s former chief medical officer of health, referred to it as a “dud pandemic.”

The European concern is that WHO may have overstated the dangers of the pandemic because of pressure from pharmaceutical companies that produce swine flu vaccines.

“Criticism is part of an outbreak cycle,” WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told reporters in Geneva. “We expect and indeed welcome criticism and the chance to discuss it,” she said, adding the WHO’s review would involve independent outside experts and its results would be made public.

Countries want to know if WHO’s advice to stockpile millions of dollars of vaccine was valid. Many countries ordered two doses of H1N1 vaccine for their citizens before researchers determined one dose would suffice for adults.

Many countries, including Canada, now have excess vaccine supplies, and are sending doses to other countries or trying to sell it. Last week, WHO delivered donated H1N1 vaccine to Mongolia and Azerbaijan, the first of 95 developing and middle-income countries the agency plans to supply with vaccine.

WHO said it’s too soon to say when the review would occur.

It could take “several seasons” to determine when the pandemic has completely subsided, said WHO spokesperson Nyka Alexander.

If so, it could be months or years before WHO determines whether the criticism was valid, said CBC’s Genevieve Tomney.

Lab-confirmed testing shows H1N1 has reached more than 200 countries and killed at least 12,799 people, according to WHO. The agency notes the real toll could take several years to determine.

3 comments to WHO to examine its H1N1 response

  • First is was Mad cows dz, then SARS, and now H1N1, then the next thing they will come up with this year will be something else?

  • After all those months of threats and hysteria from every level of government, in all media, the American people said no thanks, we’re not buying swine flu vaccine. The “pandemic” that never happened was engineered by the WHO in league with drugmakers.

  • Hysteria in the realm of public health is unnecessary. Intentionally or not, health leaders the world over created panic with their pronouncements. Educating the public rather than spreading disinformation would help us all maintain our health and prepare us to respond rationally to future epidemics.

    RESPONSE:

    It’s very misleading how the CDC tallies deaths from flu…and that’s because they combine flu deaths with pneumonia deaths. So we’re constantly exposed to headlines like this: “The American College of Physicians website states that Influenza is the sixth leading cause of death for older Americans, causing 300,000 hospitalizations and killing 30,000 to 40,000 Americans every year”. [1]

    Yet, when you closely review the CDC statistics for a given year (2002), when they reported 65,984 deaths, the actual number of deaths attributed to influenza was only 753. [2] That’s one-tenth of 1 percent of those deaths! Further down this document, statistical charts demonstrate that ALL those 753 deaths occurred in people over 75 years, most of whom already had pre-existing diseases, AND had significantly weakened immune systems.

    Viewed from another perspective, in that same year, 3,454 Americans died from malnutrition — 13 times as many people as died from the flu. It’s a shame we don’t immunize the poor for malnutrition. [2]

    Even more disturbing is a study published recently by Lone Simonsen, Ph.D., and his team at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease at the NIH. They concluded that flu shots have had no impact on reducing morbidity from flu complications in people over 65. The study demonstrated there has been NO reduction in death rates between 1980, when only 20 million people got the shot, and recent years, when over 80 million people did. [3]

    Thus, flu shots have failed to achieve their major objective: lowering death rates in the aged. Considering that the CDC statistics demonstrate that almost ALL deaths occur in the aged, it seems apparent that flu vaccination is a major waste of money.

    REFERENCES:

    1. Should Vaccinations be Required for Health Care Workers?
    From the July-August ACP Observer 2004
    http://www.acponline.org/journals/news/jul-aug04/vaccinations.htm

    2. Flu Death Statistics compiled by the CDC
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr52/nvsr52_13.pdf (See p.16)

    3. Impact of Influenza Vaccination on Seasonal Mortality in the US Elderly Population
    Arch Intern Med 2005 (Feb 14); 165 (3): 265-272
    http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/165/3/274 ~ FULL TEXT

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