Is the swine flu pandemic a fluke?

100-0056_IMGGlobal governments that were scrambling to order and distribute ample supplies of the H1N1 vaccine a few months ago are now sitting on stockpiles as demand for the flu shot has waned.

Whether concern over the vaccine’s safety or a noticeable dip in ailing cohabitants has caused the lack of response in citizens is unknown. Regardless of the reason, governments in developed nations have begun to cancel or reduce pending vaccine orders and sell or donate excess supplies. Health departments in Germany, France, Italy, and the UK are among countries reducing the number of shots they will receive in coming months, citing reduced demand and the determination that only one shot per person would be necessary.

While the major global vaccine manufacturers (including GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Aventis, Baxter, Novartis, and CSL) have already profited from widespread sales of the vaccine, these order reductions will have a negative impact on the profits they thought they would receive in 2010.

In fact, as the pandemic has turned out to be less severe than predicted, some governments are investigating whether drugmakers had too much influence over the process. The World Health Organization is also coming under fire for encouraging such a strong reaction and plans to conduct an internal review over whether the massive vaccine push was warranted. But when it comes down to it, I imaging the findings won’t make much difference if similar situations occur in the future, as most governments and the WHO typically prepare for the worst when a virus has the potential to cause widespread deaths. It is impossible to accurately predict how swiftly an illness will spread or what final impact it will have.

Consumer concerns over safety and side effects were high even when the pandemic hit its peak in the fall, despite assurances that the vaccines had been safely produced and thoroughly tested. A handful of recalls after the vaccines were widely distributed probably heightened skepticism, while some would-be patients likely became desensitized to the issue after a media frenzy surrounded the illness throughout most of the year. But the tapering off of seriously ill patients with confirmed cases of H1N1 is probably the largest culprit in slowing consumer response.

Meanwhile, health experts insist the swine flu could make another wave this year, or even mutate into a stronger form in coming years, and here in the US the CDC is still avidly encouraging folks to get the vaccine.

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Photo ©Sanofi Pasteur

Anne Law

Anne Law has been a member of the D&B editorial department for more than a decade, providing content for the Hoover's and First Research products. She currently covers the health care and insurance industries for First Research. For industry news, follow Anne on Twitter.

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Comments

  1. Officials hoarded the existing vaccine supplies for far too long; people wanted the shots before the Christmas travel season but could not get them since all shots were being saved for ‘high risk’ groups (even though ‘high risk’ group members had had weeks and weeks of opportunity to get the shots.) When the Christmas/New Years travel season started, it was now too late and the people who had been waiting for shots simply gave up trying anymore. The whole flu shot process was made far too hard for ordinary people; it was only easy to get shots if you were a Wall Street banker.

  2. Betty Senior says:

    THE THINKING THAT THE DRUGS STRATEGY WILL SAVE US FROM A DEADLY KILLER PANDEMIC WHEN IT EVENTUALLY COMES, IS ONLY FOR THE FOOLISH AND UNEDUCATED.

    Ab Osterhaus (currently being investigated by the EU due to major conflict of interests in receiving millions from big pharma whilst being the top influenza adviser to the WHO that authorised a pandemic diktat to nations, thus making billions in the process for the giant pharmaceuticals), Declan Butler and Nature Magazine are all culpable in wanting the drug companies to sell billions of pounds worth of useless swine flu/bird flu drugs. Indeed they were never real cures and now the killer viruses have mutated and are constantly doing so, the new killer strains emerging are resistant against pharma drugs. They and others are all friends of the large pharmaceuticals and responsible for the sales of tens of billions of wasted and ineffective drugs paid by the taxpayer. What they did not want to see was the alternative strategy emerge of addressing the global killer threat at source.

    For the only way to stop bird flu/Swine flu et al indefinitely is to address the problem at source and never let it happen in the first place. It is the only way.

    http://avian-influenza.cirad.fr/content/download/1931/11789/file/Kennedy-F-Shortridge.pdf

    http://distributedresearch.net/blog/tag/world-innovation-foundation

    Otherwise it will one day come back with a vengeance and wipe out a quarter of humanity. The Spanish Flu that killed up to 100 million (a Swine flu variant) will then be seen as the minor event in the world’s history of global pandemics.

    Funny how money always rises above human life itself !

    THE FALLACY THAT THE DRUGS STRATEGY WILL SAVE US FROM A PANDEMIC

    The facts are taking the most powerful and still richest country in the world the USA as an example,

    Initial Detection
    Time Scale – 0 months
    Swine Flu first detected — Influenza A, Novel H1N1 “swine flu” was first detected in Mexico City and was made public March 18, 2009. Therefore the first causality was probably at the beginning of March 2009 taking into account the incubation period.

    First Death in USA
    Time Scale + 2-months later
    at the end of April 2009

    1st Vaccine Approved
    Time Scale + 6 months 2 weeks
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the new swine flu vaccine for use in the United States on September 15, 2009.

    Vaccine 1st ready for use in USA
    Time Scale + 7 months 1 week
    The vaccine was first ready from mass production and used on 5th October 2009 in the USA

    Most Vaccinated City in the USA by 22nd March 2010
    Time Scale + 1 year 1month 1 week
    Massachusetts vaccinated more residents against the swine flu and seasonal flu in the fall and winter than any other state.
    Up to the end of Winter (March 2010) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health says 36 percent of residents were inoculated against the swine flu, also known as H1N1, compared with 21 percent nationally. Seasonal flu vaccinations were administered to 57 percent of the population, compared with 37 percent nationwide.
    A mere 36% in one USA city and where nationally only 21% had the vaccine by March 22nd 2010.

    The Spanish flu of 1917/18 did its worst between week 16 and week 26.

    Considering this fact by the time we get any vaccine, most of us will be well dead. Fact not fiction. Therefore the vaccine strategy is totally flawed and we have to move from this stupid strategy to a standpoint of never letting it happen in the first place — the preventative strategy not cure strategy and the only strategy that will actually work.

    That strategy is – http://avian-influenza.cirad.fr/content/download/1931/11789/file/Kennedy-F-Shortridge.pdf

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