Why I don't care if the WHO exaggerated the H1N1 threat

Yesterday TIME asked if the World Health Organization raised a false alarm about the swine flu. Most of the scolding came from representatives of affluent nation’s that wound up with a surplus of the vaccine, proving a financial loss for those that ordered more than they needed due to an elevated threat.

“WHO advised us falsely. They raised a false alarm,” says Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg, who served in Germany’s parliament until September, faulting the U.N.’s global health agency for relying on an inadequate definition of a pandemic.

Wodarg notes that the agency declared the H1N1 pandemic based only on the new virus’ transmissibility and did not take into consideration the severity of the strain. Wodarg blames the WHO for raising the alarm over a virus with little destructive potential, leading countries to embark on expensive mass-vaccination programs.

I was pregnant when the reports started coming in from Mexico about the deadly epidemic, and as it grew the outlook for pregnant women contracting the virus was not so hot. Having a newborn – who couldn’t be vaccinated – in the midst of the epidemic was also quite frightening. People were dying, people were lined up outside of hospitals in Mexico just trying to get in for treatment. But Wordag is miffed –

He has organized a public parliamentary hearing on behalf of the Strasbourg-based human-rights group Council of Europe, titled “The Handling of the H1N1 Pandemic: More Transparency Needed?”

The WHO’s special adviser on pandemic influenza, Keiji Fukuda will be overseeing the hearing and luckily has a better perspective than Wodarg’s, “People didn’t die, and now we’re pissed we spent the money.”

Fukuda says also that claims that H1N1 is a mild pandemic are wrongheaded. “There have been over 14,000 deaths that have been laboratory-confirmed, many in young, previously healthy people. Who is going to tell their families that the virus is mild?” Fukuda wrote to TIME in an e-mail.

via Did the WHO Exaggerate the H1N1 Flu Pandemic’s Danger? – TIME.

If oversupply is the worst thing that happened in your country as a result of the H1N1 virus, consider yourself and your countrymen lucky and stop yer bitchin’. Jeez.

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