Given the massive overspend by governments, was the threat of H1N1 exaggerated?
by the ANH team
Two new ‘damning’ reports about the Swine flu pandemic were published today: The first—the result of an investigation by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism—reveals the ties to ‘pharma’ of the three scientists who authored the World Health Organization (WHO) guidance issued in 2004. It raises both moral and ethical questions, when scientists working on guidance documents to inform government practice, are allowed to remain in the pay of pharmaceutical companies. It is after all the pharmaceutical companies who stand to gain, to the tune of billions of dollars, from a pandemic. Still worse, is that this conflict of interest was not declared by the WHO.
In a second report, published today by the Council of Europe, the Swine Flu pandemic is denounced as an unjustified waste of public money, and we are informed about the unacceptable lack of transparency surrounding pandemic decision making. Paul Flynn MP, who is a member of the Council of Europe Health Committee, and who prepared the report, has commented: “ The tentacles of drug company influence are in all levels in the decision-making process… It must be right that the WHO is transparent because there has been distortion of priorities of public health all over Europe, waste of huge sums of public money and provocation of unjustified fear.”
Strength of feeling about the exaggerated threat of H1N1 swine flu in order to swell ‘pharma’ coffers, is widespread following the massive overspend by many countries in preparing for this latest pandemic—let’s not forget the Avian flu pandemic of 2006, which also never eventuated.
Paul Flynn reports that a proposal has now been signed by more than 200 MEPs, which calls for a special committee on the H1N1 pandemic that will, amongst other tasks, evaluate the dependence exhibited by the EU on the WHO.
One year on: Worldwide death toll is only 5% of seasonal flu average
It was approximately one year ago that reports of an outbreak of ‘Pig Flu’ in Mexico began to appear in the World’s media. This was the origin of the Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic that gripped and terrified millions, but that turned out to be only 5% as deadly as seasonal flu. This H1N1 virus continues to circulate internationally, including in the southern hemisphere where the flu season is now underway, but is declining in the US. Within Europe, it only remains in isolated regions of the east.
The World Health Organization (WHO) website still gives ‘Weekly update’ figures, and the Worldwide total number of deaths is given as 17,853. The WHO gives annual Seasonal influenza figures as between 250,000 to 500,000 deaths. The H1N1 death figures are approximately only 5% of those expected annually for Seasonal flu.
Whilst these figures are no comfort for the loved ones of those who succumbed to the virus, they do put the pandemic clearly in context, and underline the question being asked, increasingly: “Was the threat of H1N1 exaggerated? ”.
A recap on events
The pharmaceutical industry seemed very well prepared for H1N1, and even as the first reports were coming off the World’s press, panicking populations were being told : “Tamiflu and Relenza both effective against the illness”. The team updating the Cochrane Review reminded us that there was insufficient evidence on which to base Government policies of stockpiling the drug for use against the H1N1 pandemic flu.
By May, we had learned that several governments had put in orders for a ‘new candidate A (H1N1) GlaxoSmithKline adjuvanted vaccine’, in order to stockpile as a ‘precautionary measure’. The great H1N1 vaccine rollout had sprung into action.
On 11th June 2009, Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO declared that the level of influenza pandemic alert had been raised from phase 5 to phase 6, and that the world was at the start of the 2009 influenza pandemic—which we now know never transpired.
The Council of Europe investigation was called for in December 2009, by the German medical doctor and parliamentarian, Dr Wolfgang Wodarg, when he released his views about how the WHO and big pharma may have been complicit in exaggerating the risks over the H1N1 pandemic.
The UK Government bought a staggering 110 million doses of vaccine, which was enough to give two doses each to 80% of the population. Yet only 6 million doses (just over 5%) were actually used- a shocking waste of public money! The UK National Health Service actually spent £155m on the vaccines, and, in common with other health services around the world, had to direct many other resources into the pandemic at the expense of other important priorities. Other countries similarly overspent, and many have since sought to offload their stocks in various ways.
It is significant that, despite the very expensive pharmaceutical precautions taken by the UK, it experienced double the number of Swine Flu deaths per million of the population than did Poland, who refused to buy any of the inadequately tested vaccine. It is interesting to note that Poland has a long history of use of traditional and herbal medicine.
Vaccine safety in question
Many of those that went ahead in good faith, have since come forward with adverse effects from the swine flu shot – many of them serious. Even the readers’ comments in a Times Online article (Nov 2009) reveal quite a catalogue of alarming personal experiences following a Pandemrix shot!
WHO conducting own review
The first meeting of the WHO Review Committee on the H1N1 pandemic took place in Geneva, Switzerland, on 12-14th April 2010. The purpose of the review is actually to focus on the functioning of the International Health Regulations (2005) in relation to the H1N1 influenza pandemic.
The implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005) was also on the agenda at the 63rd session of the World Health Assembly, which took place from 17-21st May 2010, in Geneva. We hear that Dr Margaret Chan, the head of WHO, told the opening session of the Assembly that ‘sometimes… we are just plain lucky!’, adding, we understand, that the virus did not mutate to a more lethal form, that the vaccine worked, and that the virus showed little resistance to anti-viral drugs.
There are many who believe it imperative to see evidence of the effectiveness of the vaccine, and indeed of the effectiveness of the anti-viral drugs before they are to be used on human guinea pigs. Many questions about the so-called Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic remain unanswered, and we await the outcome of further investigations with great interest.
We would like to thank CADUCEUS Journal for the use of the article by Dr Damien Downing entitled: ‘To vaccinate or not to vaccinate?’, which appears in their current issue 78.
CADUCEUS is a healing, spiritual magazine focusing on psychological, emotional, spiritual, ecological and environmental health, therapy and growth, including natural, holistic, energy and complementary medicine, and offers a directory of CAM, complementary, alternative therapists and clinics.
Articles by Dr Robert Verkerk have also been published in CADUCEUS issue 77.
‘Swine flu – how proportionate is the response?‘: ISSUE 77, page 17
‘Codex Alimentarius: focus on true threats’: ISSUE 77, pages 24-27
For free access to these from the CADUCEUS homepage, please click on link next to ‘GET YOUR CADUCEUS ONLINE MAGAZINE FREE OF CHARGE’, choose ‘FREE ONLINE ONLY ISSUE’.
Vaccine Choice campaign