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WHO To Investigate Handling of Swine Flu Information, Vaccine Orders

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the here-little-piggy dept.

Medicine 372

krou writes "With swine flu fading in the UK (projected winter deaths of 65,000 have been downgraded to 1,000, and new cases are decreasing) the UK government has been left with millions of unused vaccines, and (unlike its contract with Baxter) no clear break-clause to get out of its contract with GlaxoSmithKlein. Although the amount paid for vaccines has not been disclosed, it likely cost the UK government several hundred million pounds. Other governments are also in a similar position: the US ordered 251 million doses of the vaccine, and France and Germany are aiming to cut back on their orders considerably. To say that the case for the pandemic has been over-estimated appears to be an understatement. Now, the WHO has announced that it is to investigate whether or not it bowed to pressure from drugs companies to overplay the threat." (Continues, below.)"The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly has also announced an investigation into the matter after a resolution [pdf] from Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, was adopted. Dr. Wodarg labelled swine flu as a "false pandemic", and claims in the resolution that '"in order to promote their patented drugs and vaccines against flu, pharmaceutical companies influenced scientists and official agencies responsible for public health standards to alarm governments worldwide and make them squander tight health resources for inefficient vaccine strategies, and needlessly expose millions of healthy people to the risk of an unknown amount of side-effects of insufficiently-tested vaccines."' By some estimates, GSK was expected to net over £1 billion from vaccine sales."

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372 comments

That's cool! (2, Funny)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 4 years ago | (#30775896)

You know, I really love Iron Maiden... but I guess the WHO gets my vote now... I didnt know they were that active in saving the world!!!

;-)

Re:That's cool! (4, Funny)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 4 years ago | (#30775988)

"You know, I really love Iron Maiden... but I guess the WHO gets my vote now..."

You got it wrong, mate! We are talking about vaccines here, so it's not about *that* who, but Doctor Who.

Re:That's cool! (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776008)

LoL! True! I stand corrected! :-)

Re:That's cool! (1)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776078)

But I have it on good authority he's not that kind of doctor.

This made my day (1, Interesting)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30775898)

Even if it blew a lot of government money. We were hit and hit hard by astroturfing and government fear mongering. Now that this information is becoming public this will become an annual event because government can never admit it was wrong.

Re:This made my day (5, Insightful)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776006)

It seems more to me the journalists did their own fear-mongering. The politicians just followed the prevailing winds like always. I wish politicians would have more balls than that, but I also wish I could fly!

Re:This made my day (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776044)

The politicians just followed the prevailing winds like always.

So much for the idea that politicians should have leadership skills.
More like ring-in-the-nose skills.

Re:This made my day (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776070)

Politicians with balls went out of style in WWII. You get too much other crap as baggage with them. They kill more than plagues ever did.

Without drastic and pre-WWII style draconian social control you can do surveillance and find an up and coming candidate to generate a vaccine for. Since we have a limited and fragile capacity for creating vaccines once you've chosen you're stuck with it. Then something like the captain tripps virus can crop up and run amok.

The drastic and draconian social change would be reminiscent of totalitarian dictatorships. Most nations will not be able to do it though Britain will come close followed by Russia though without the resources and the US will implement them ineptly.

Most other countries will implode.

Re:This made my day (5, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776516)

I wish we had any politicians left in the west. We don't. What we have is managers. Like all managers, their primary interest is staying on the job and collecting nice salaries, at least until they've build up new and valuable connections and can hop to the next well-paying job.

The word "Politician" includes the greek "polis", which is the body of citizens, or in american terms, "we, the people". If you know of a politician actually interested in the polis, bring him to the nearest endangered species reserve.

Re:This made my day (4, Informative)

umghhh (965931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776536)

as for politicians I guess they had no real choice - WHO used its (recently changed) rules to announce a pandemic and govs had to do something as negligence in case of pending disaster would not only be deadly in political terms but criminal. And on top of this strange annoucnement by WHO (which is I suppose to be investigated now) there are cases like the one of Sir Roy M. Anderson [wikipedia.org] . The whole thing stinks like an industrial swine farm hence the name of the disease.

Re:This made my day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30776604)

The media made WHO countries make billion-dollar contract with the medical companies, and didnt even bother to check when the companies suggested double dose to everyone?

Re:This made my day (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30776826)

Well the WHO deserve a massive amount of blame themselves.

In fact, I'd put them at the core of it. It was after all Margaret Chan, the WHO's director general that came out with the quote, which was clearly idiotic even at the time of "After all it really is all of humanity that is under threat during a pandemic.".

I mean seriously, what a load of crap. Not every pandemic comes close to putting the whole of humanity under threat, and it was pretty obvious well before she made this comment that swine flu was not deadly enough to be linked to such an absurd claim.

Mexico lost many people to it initially, and as soon as someone died from it in the US, the media went into a frenzy because it's not like of course anyone has ever died from influenza before. After the initial large death toll in Mexico. There was at no point through the spread of swine flu to the present day where the ratio of infected to death was anything worse than a typical bad flu season, since initially being at the typical bad flu season it has actually decreased, to be one of the least harmful annual flus we've had. The amount of healthy people that died to it was negligible, the deaths were almost entirely amongst those already old or weak.

Swine flu never was a threat, it was an outright scam, and the WHO were one of the major players in that scam. I would even argue their involvement was knowing and intentional- how can someone in such a prominent position as Margaret Chan not spot what anyone sensible and down to earth could? That Swine flu just wasn't doing anything serious. She's either grossly incompetent, or intentionally deceptive, either way, she's entirely unfit for the post. She needs to be sacked and replaced by someone who can actually treat such situations with an air of common sense and objectivity, and who can look at the facts before trying to rate the likes of swine flu as something that could whipe out the whole of humanity.

Re:This made my day (2, Interesting)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776122)

"Now that this information is becoming public this will become an annual event because government can never admit it was wrong."

They don't have to admit they are wrong. All they have to do is find out which one of these companies actually released the virus in the wilds of Mexico.

It is against the law to profit from your crimes in this country.

Re:This made my day (2, Insightful)

foobsr (693224) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776784)

All they have to do is find out which one of these companies actually released the virus in the wilds of Mexico.

Thank you, exactly what I always thought, however this is the first instance (I come across) that someone else utters this suspicion.

CC.

Re:This made my day (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776310)

Even if it blew a lot of government money. We were hit and hit hard by astroturfing and government fear mongering. Now that this information is becoming public this will become an annual event because government can never admit it was wrong.

I have said from the beginning, here and elsewhere, that this whole thing was blown completely out of proportion and never deserved the "panic" status it received. It's amazing how much disbelief I encountered, especially in the form of ad-hominems. I suppose that now, some of those people think I just made a lucky guess. Sometimes I wonder how many times must events like this happen before more people wake up a bit and learn to recognize the patterns. The only thing that's unusual or surprising about this iteration is that there's at least a perfunctory investigation. Otherwise, the average person's tolerance for that nagging sense of "something's not right about this" seems nearly endless at times whether it's the swine flu or any other public scare.

Re:This made my day (1)

umghhh (965931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776570)

well I dare to disagree that this 'pandemic' should not have been treated as such by authorities - they have to react on the advise of bodies like WHO. What was really wrong is that nobody of authority really took notice of how WHO changes rules and definitions and as a consequence nobody really investigated whether pandemic claims were all true. Obviously they either did not have the time or went out of their way to not see what was going on. What is really bad is t hat this damaged the reputation of WHO and made general population really doubting the sense of vaccination (it is in normal conditions sensible to have vaccinations against certain diseases) and in what authorities says about imminent epidemic/pandemic. I suppose we not only pay to the fat cats in big pharma now but we as a society will pay the price in blood next time around when nobody will believe another this time possibly real danger - I'd say alikes of Sir Roy M. Anderson should be hanged together with his friends from GSK if this bad scenario occurs.

Re:This made my day (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776514)

Nor will it admit how much Peter mandleson got in back-handers.

pork barrel politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30775904)

..once again rears its ugly snout.

Oh, I see (3, Insightful)

Andorin (1624303) | more than 4 years ago | (#30775912)

So regular people weren't the only ones caught up in the sensationalism that is/was swine flu. Governments were hooked by it too...

Re:Oh, I see (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776102)

Actually, here's how the chain actually went as I saw it. 24 hour news networks have nothing else to report on. They all look at each other and what they're reporting on and decide none of them can afford to drop this "everyone's gonna die" story before any other network does. Then they run out of things to say about the non-story so they make it sound interesting and dangerous. That gets stupid people freaked out and soon everyone's talking about it. The fact that everyone is worried about it makes governments pretend to care as much as they do so they look good for the next election. Then they buy up a ton of vaccines for a ton of money instead of a few for cheap to idiots don't blog about them spending 1 bil on a military jet to protect americans and 10 mil on vaccines to "protect americans." Even if they know it's BS, they'll do anything that a large percentage of US citizens say. That's kinda how a democracy works.
If you think I'm wrong, how do you think Congress ended up holding hearings about MLB steroid use? Cable news wouldn't let it do, people got concerned, so congress had to pretend to be concerned too.

Shouldn't we be happy? (4, Insightful)

rvw (755107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776718)

So regular people weren't the only ones caught up in the sensationalism that is/was swine flu. Governments were hooked by it too...

The Dutch government ordered 34 million vaccines for 17 million people. They spent about 200 million Euro on this. Maybe half of that is used, the rest will or will not be sold to other countries. I don't mind that they spend this money. It's like an insurance, and 200 million Euro is nothing compared to the cost of having a hundreds of thousands people ill with the flu.

A flu that will kill millions of people is going to happen sooner or later. Now nothing serious has happened people are mad, but...

Shouldn't we be happy instead???

Fear-fad (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30775920)

Lol. I never could understand why people bought into the swine flu hysteria nonsense. If you looked at the numbers for how many people actually got sick and how many died from it, IT'S JUST THE FREAKING FLU! Jeesh. I wonder what the next fear-fad will be? I'm rooting for alien invasions.

Re:Fear-fad (4, Insightful)

Tar-Alcarin (1325441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30775970)

I agree that it was indeed a fear-fad, but the reason behind it is fairly understandable. H1N1 hit hardest (i.e. killed people) in a different demographic than the seasonal flu; young people in generally good health. This is a demographic that does not usually feel threatened by the seasonal flu, and when this virus showed up, the threat (which in numbers are quite comparable to the seasonal flu) seemed immensely larger than reason would dictate.

Re:Fear-fad (4, Informative)

atamido (1020905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776486)

H1N1 hit hardest (i.e. killed people) in a different demographic than the seasonal flu; young people in generally good health.

I keep hearing this from people, but everything I've read about actual numbers contradicts this. Young people in generally good health might be a little more at risk, but people with preexisting medical conditions are the ones that need to worry (which is normal).

If you have a reliable citation otherwise, I'd love to see it.

Re:Fear-fad (1)

Tar-Alcarin (1325441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776744)

I'm afraid I have no citation to offer, as I only know this second-hand.
For what it's worth: A friend of mine works as a doctor at a hospital in Fredrikstad, Norway, and she is the one who told me that this disease caused an unusual high rate of serious illness in otherwise healthy people. She also said that she confirmed this unusual pattern at her hospital.

But even this is a little bit beside my point: It's precisely that "little bit more risk", conferred on a demographic which is just not used to dealing with this stuff, that has been the main cause of the widespread panic. Whether that "little bit more risk" has resulted in them leading the death-rate statistics or not, is not really the issue.

Re:Fear-fad (4, Informative)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776324)

Lol. I never could understand why people bought into the swine flu hysteria nonsense. If you looked at the numbers for how many people actually got sick and how many died from it, IT'S JUST THE FREAKING FLU! Jeesh. I wonder what the next fear-fad will be? I'm rooting for alien invasions.

Actually that's incorrect. "Just the flu" is far deadlier each year than the swine flu has ever been in sum total. Therefore, it's even more of a non-issue to me than the regular "feel like shit for a while and get over it" influenza. The only problem, and it isn't my problem, is that it's hard to sell vaccines to people who feel this way.

They've done it before. (1)

JoshDD (1713044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30775938)

And don't you know they will do it again.

no shit sherlock (5, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30775940)

it was always fear mongering. and the government shouldn't get to pass the buck either - they made the call to make the order, i'm sure they could have gotten independant advice.

Re:no shit sherlock (0, Troll)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776296)

While I believe there was some sensationalism by media, I don't think the WHO's warnings should have been any less than they were. As I read the early comments here, overwhelmingly of the opinion that the whole H1N1 pandemic was simply FUD, I am perplexed as there's usually at least one sensible comment among the hoard. Yet, I haven't found any yet. Look, you idiots... it's a pandemic. It's STILL a pandemic... that is, whether or not you think the warnings were FUD, it's a pandemic... and right now, it's still a pandemic. Maybe it's not the Black Plague and clearing out whole towns, but it still killed an estimated 10K Americans so far, and sickened 50 million... and that's just the US. It's a PANDEMIC no matter how much whomever exaggerated its veracity.

And while I don't see in this case exactly how Big Pharm was involved with ? harm done by exaggerating this pandemic, I see them as suspect and having too much power in general over their customers. Did you guys here that diabetes was cured? Yeah, they figured it out a couple years ago in some Toronto lab. But I don't see Big Pharm rushing trials and manufacturing the cure. I see them doing business as usual selling insulin. I think we need to put some watchdogs in Big Pharms yard, to watch them... make sure they aren't tempted to stop a cure so they can keep selling their treatments.

Re:no shit sherlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30776476)

yeah sure. standard flu occurs world-wide too and costs more lifes. omg we got a pandemic every year.

btw. look up who runs the WHO and which other company.

Re:no shit sherlock (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776510)

Evidently, it proves that pandemics aren't worth getting worried about.

Re:no shit sherlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30776646)

No, dummy (or did you forget a smiley after that one?). It proves that it was a mild pandemic.

Pandemic just means "damn near everyone is going to get it" -- it doesn't mean it'll kill you. Pandemic athlete's foot might be an example of a pandemic that's not too worrisome.

Anyhow, the trouble is, it takes a while to make the vaccines, so the decisions need to be made early, long before anyone really knows how the pandemic is going to turn out.

Re:no shit sherlock (4, Interesting)

John Betonschaar (178617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776612)

Common cold is also a pandemic.

If you really wanted to make your case, you should have mentioned the H1N1 flu virus is a combination of influenza strains that is very uncommon in humans, and for which most people have not been exposed before, hence the high risk of getting sick and passing the virus on. That, in combination with the possibilty of the virus mutating in something more lethal, might have become a real issue. The fact that H1N1 has spread worldwide is no surprise at all now that global travel is so common, but that alone really is not enough to warrant the total mass-hysteria that we've seen now.

Anyway, even taking into account the worst possible scenario (the H1N1 virus spreads like fire, mutates, and starts killing 10% of infected people) does not justify blindly buying millions of vaccins that were made based on the non-lethal initial H1N1 virus strain. Chances are high the current vaccin has no effect on a mutated H1N1 strain at all. So either way, something wrong is going on here.

Also, imagine how many people could have been saved using $0.50 cholera medicine, if we, the cocky, egotastic western world, wouldn't have overreacted on this disease that might even kill people in developed countries, and spent the hundreds of millions of dollars on cheap medicine for actual acute health risks around the world.

Medical companies corrupted the WHO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30776676)

Look you blathering fool, in May last year the medical companies made WHO change the definition of "pandemic", to just include how much it spreads globally, instead of how serious the disease is. Of course, a flu will become a "pandemic", when you change the definition of a few months before the "outbreak"! That is what this case is about, how many on WHO was getting pay from the medical companies (enough to get enough votes it seems!)

Also the medical companies recommended double dose, just to be sure to cash in double. No scientific reports explains why the double doses were recommended.. It seems WHO just accepted whatever the medical companies said, for some reason..

Expect alot of corruption rollups in the coming months/years in medical industry and WHO. This is corruption in epical scale, and I dont think people like it when other people steal, in the middle of a financial crisis.

So what is a "pandemic" now, idiot?

Re:no shit sherlock (1)

societyofrobots (1396043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776864)

SARS, mad cow disease, bird flu, swine flu, the list of fear mongering disease history keeps going . . .

The media is crying wolf for non-serious diseases, and we'll all pay for it when something serious comes along.

Obligatory... (2, Funny)

HellYeahAutomaton (815542) | more than 4 years ago | (#30775944)

WHO's on first?

Re:Obligatory... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30775972)

No, Flu's on first, WHO's on second!

Re:Obligatory... (4, Funny)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776268)

I-dont-know-if-its-a-pandemic is on third.

Shifting the blame? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30775952)

Great way of shifting the blame. I mean it's pretty obvious that companies like GSK have an incentive for overplaying the threat. BUT institutions like the WHO must also justify their existence all the time thus having a similiar incentive, too. It is not just big pharma that is guilty in this case. Since the WHO (IMHO) overplayed the avian flu I've been taking their announcements with a grain of salt.

Re:Shifting the blame? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776388)

Great way of shifting the blame. I mean it's pretty obvious that companies like GSK have an incentive for overplaying the threat. BUT institutions like the WHO must also justify their existence all the time thus having a similiar incentive, too. It is not just big pharma that is guilty in this case. Since the WHO (IMHO) overplayed the avian flu I've been taking their announcements with a grain of salt.

Swine flu, avian flu, West Nile, SARS, hoof-and-mouth ... I'm sure I am leaving something out, but that's what I can easily recall. The public has a short, short memory. Meanwhile, fear has the well-known effect of shutting down things like rational evaluation and higher reason. At least, it has this effect on the cowardly and there seem to be plenty of them these days.

Though it's a crude analogy, I sometimes explain it this way: I don't have to fear heights to understand that falling off a cliff is not in my best interests. So, I need not panic or cringe or shake in my boots; I only need to watch my step when I'm near the edge. I can do that calmly, in fact it's more effective that way. The fear is a useless hinderance when there is a sufficiently developed understanding to replace it. As a nation the general public needs to grok that, otherwise we will always be the kind of suckers who fall for such fear-mongering.

"If all the news channels are saying the same thing, and all the people they refer to have credentials, then everything they say must be the whole truth with genuinely good intentions, right? Because they'd never lie to us and take advantage of us like that, right?" Yeah, right.

I actually like swine flu (4, Interesting)

Xenkar (580240) | more than 4 years ago | (#30775968)

When I read a rumor that mostly fat people were dying from swine flu, it gave me the motivation to lose weight. I went from obese to normal weight in nine months. Now I feel stronger because I am not carrying around 50 pounds of ballast.

That's the only good thing that has come of the media scare about swine flu.

Re:I actually like swine flu (1)

JoshDD (1713044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30775992)

And like Jared I lost weight with the help of my aides.

Re:I actually like swine flu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30776004)

Ooo it's a eugenic virus.

Maybe this is a solution to the sociological theory of "the end of evolution"

Re:I actually like swine flu (-1, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776016)

When I read a rumor that mostly fat people were dying from swine flu, it gave me the motivation to lose weight.

No, its only Mexicans who were hit by it. To deprive them of their tourist dollars and punish them for contributing to America's insatiable demand for drugs. Cruise ships were diverted.

But as somebody who abuses Mexican drugs on a regular basis, I must say I'm laughing at all of you who were frightened into getting vaccines and actually being afraid. Pump 'n' dump -- vaccines, Windows security, iPhones, stocks, bonds, the whole fucking economy... Build hype and fail to accommodate the demand, then blame the consumers for being idiots while they try to blame their crack dealer for their own idiocy. the entity with more money wins. You're not gonna die, okay?

Re:I actually like swine flu (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776046)

I caught swine flu around 2 months back. Let me tell you one thing: all the things the press has said has been fear-mongering and more than slightly exaggerated. The only difference I noticed compared to normal flu was that I had constant headache. Nothing else. There was and still is nothing to fear about it.

Re:I actually like swine flu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30776166)

I caught it as well but hit quite harder than you. I was sleeping upright for 2 weeks had a fever for one week and lost my voice as well. I still have a minor cough left over and this is 5 weeks later. I missed a good week of work and destroyed my winter break (saved me from using more sick time). If I had it to do again I definitely would have taken the vaccine.

Re:I actually like swine flu (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776540)

I tooki the vaccine and my symptoms were the same as yours. It was a scam from day 1.

More bad statistics (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30776262)

100% of people who caught the Swine Flu and post on Slashdot now did not die from it. Obviously it is nothing to fear.

Re:I actually like swine flu (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776906)

When I read a rumor that mostly fat people were dying from swine flu, it gave me the motivation to lose weight. I went from obese to normal weight in nine months. Now I feel stronger because I am not carrying around 50 pounds of ballast.

That's the only good thing that has come of the media scare about swine flu.

hmm, I read a rumor that only stupid people react to rumors.

I ignored it of course, but you make me think there's something to that.

Zombie Virus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30775974)

Well at least they prove they're well prepared for the zombie virus. The second a person starts biting others they'll be issuing guns and telling everyone to aim for the head.

Not only UK (3, Insightful)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30775980)

This case did not only occur in the UK. Sweden bought 18 million doses, to a population of 9 million at price of about 140,000,000 USD. However, not all have been used as some refused to get it and others cannot. It is quite likely that Glax-Smith-Klein used the situation, but... What if the governments hadn't done it? And people had died as flies... Hindsights...

Re:Not only UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30776048)

Crying wolf comes to mind. What happens when there is an outbreak of something truly dangerous? Nobody cares and half the population dies.

Re:Not only UK (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776330)

Sweden bought 18 million doses, to a population of 9 million

How the hell did they justify this? Does Sweeden only count Sweedish citizens in that 9 million estimate? Do they see their entire population move through the country? Even so, would all of those people have needed the flu vaccine while in Sweeden? Were countries hoarding in case there was a shortage?

Seriously. How do you justify buying 2 vaccines for every single person living in your country?

Re:Not only UK (1)

shaka (13165) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776468)

Apparently, our politicians are even more gullible than the yanks, and they bought into the idea that every person would need not one, but _two_, doses of vaccine!

As of December last year, 4 million people in Sweden had taken the vaccine. In the entire EU (with a population of 500 million), 10 million had taken the vaccine.

Yay!

Re:Not only UK (1)

Bekro (1011753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776470)

The second one's a booster shot.

Re:Not only UK (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776644)

Because when global panic sets in, you can sell the surplus 9 million doses for double the price, and thus the net cost to inoculating your country is zero.

That's assuming 1) It really was a pandemic 2) The vaccine works

Re:Not only UK (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776740)

The Dutch government has done the same, and I'm happy they did. They paid about 200 million euros, which is really nothing compared to the risk if the flu had really caught on.

Re:Not only UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30776622)

This case did not only occur in the UK. Sweden bought 18 million doses, to a population of 9 million at price of about 140,000,000 USD.

Unfortunately your dollar numbers are about three zeros short of what it takes to get the attention of politicians these days.

Re:Not only UK (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776852)

Would you also like this tiger-repellent rock? In Poland Ministry of Health said this Flu is weaker than normal seasonal ones and did NOT get any vaccines. Lobbyists went apeshit on her (She is a doctor, and a damn good one, people believed her) including Commissioner for Civil Rights trying to get her in legal trouble for "endangering population. He went so far with his little lobbying shit that he contracted flu himself and started claiming it was the swine flu .... Crazy shit.

boy who cried wolf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30776024)

the problem is when we have a real serious threat, people won't take it seriously, and why should we, we are becoming desensitized to this stuff, they should see who is behind this, if its vaccine manufacturs, they need to go after them.

The WHO needs to shut the fuck up (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776054)

The biggest fear mongering came for news organizations, of course, since that's what they do. However right behind them was the WHO. When Swine Flu started man they went to town with panic type announcements. You read their stuff and you could see where the news organizations were getting the crap they were blowing out of proportion.

To me it seems like the WHO overreacted, people and governments bought in to it, and now they are looking for a scape goat. While I'm sure the drug companies were more than happy to sell as much vaccine as anyone wanted to buy, I've seen no evidence they were causing the panic. Seems to have stated with poor, sensationalistic stories from the WHO which were then inevitably turned in to mass doomsday stories by the media.

Re:The WHO needs to shut the fuck up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30776406)

To me it seems like the WHO overreacted, people and governments bought in to it, and now they are looking for a scape goat. While I'm sure the drug companies were more than happy to sell as much vaccine as anyone wanted to buy, I've seen no evidence they were causing the panic.

I always thought they are one and the same, i.e. the WHO and drug companies. Vaccination committees in the EU (especially there) and the WHO are either massively sponsored by drug companies or outright staffed by them (yea ... I'm too lazy to dig out the reports).

The story sounds a bit schizophrenic to me. If anything the result will be "We looked into it. Everything's fine. Go back to sleep.".

Re:The WHO needs to shut the fuck up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30776452)

The WHO is a dreadfully pathetic organisation - they sit there watching whole countries go to pot without lifting a finger then when a bout of flu comes along they start foaming at the mouth and ranting that it will destroy the world... despite early indications that the virus was no where near as fatal as it might have been. Posting this AC for good reason - I have experience of just how ineffective, biased and nepotistic this organisation is. If the journos who contributed to the mass hysteria want retribution then they could spend some time looking deep into the workings of the WHO...

Re:The WHO needs to shut the fuck up (5, Insightful)

nbauman (624611) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776454)

To me it seems like the WHO overreacted, people and governments bought in to it, and now they are looking for a scape goat

To you. Are you a doctor? Are you a virologist? What the fuck do you know? Nothing. Do you think anybody in his right mind is going to risk the lives of hundreds of thousands of people by paying attention to you?

Influenza kills 50,000 people a year in the U.S., usually elderly people who are sick with something else. If that goes up or down by 10%, that's a lot of people. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, 3,000 children, teenagers and young people died this year from the H1N1 flu. These are otherwise healthy young people who would not otherwise have died. A lot of them were infants under 5 years old. The vaccine seemed to have provided significant protection. It's hard to tell how many people would have died without the vaccine, but twice as many is reasonable.

3,000 deaths is the same number of people who died in the World Trade Center. Did you get upset about that? Or did you laugh it off like you're doing with the flu?

The 1918 flu caused 650,000 deaths. Nobody really knows why. We could have another epidemic like that any year. When the new flu comes up, nobody knows until it's all over whether it's going to be the big one until it's all over.

People get into a position of responsibility because unlike you, they're doctors and they know the facts. They're not going to take a chance with 3,000 lives at stake. It's a pretty easy decision: order the vaccine, and take the risk of not needing it, or don't order the vaccine, and take the risk of killing 10,000 people -- or 100,000 people -- or 650,000 people.

You're like people who say it was a waste of money to build earthquake-resistant buildings because we didn't have an earthquake. Or to build flood-resistant levies because we didn't have a flood.

You are suffering from stupidity, which is an even worse disease than the flu, and it's going around Slashdot.

I'm sorry, we really don't have any cure.

Re:The WHO needs to shut the fuck up (3, Informative)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776584)

The 1918 flu caused 650,000 deaths.

Actually, most estimates put it at 50,000,000 to 100,000,000 deaths.

/Mikael

Re:The WHO needs to shut the fuck up (4, Insightful)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776688)

You're over reacting to the argument from ignorance there, chief.

The 1918 flu caused 650,000 deaths. Nobody really knows why.
It caused a lot more deaths than that, but I'll let it slide because you're probably focused on your own country.
As for "nobody really knows why", I'll assume you're also talking about your own country then, because in the rest of the world? We know why. We've got a very good understanding of the mutations that were involved in the Spanish flu of 1918. Ever since samples of the virus were excavated from bodies buried under the permafrost a few years ago.

We could have another epidemic like that any year.
We could, but it's really not very likely.

When the new flu comes up, nobody knows until it's all over whether it's going to be the big one until it's all over.
Again, maybe in your country (?) this is true, but in the rest of the world, it's not like we're reading animal entrails in a vague attempt to discern the future.

When there's an outbreak of a flu virus, samples are taken and lab tested. It takes a short time to get a gene sequence and it's often done at Mill Hill in London. Results are made public.

Any unusual mutations in the gene sequence can be highlighted and we can get a very good idea of what's likely to be a dangerous strain or not. In all the world wide panic about this recent swine flu, anyone who gave a twopenny crap could have been following actual virology websites, or the releases from Mill Hill. They were far more concerned about the variation which appeared in the Ukraine, by the way.

You are suffering from stupidity, which is an even worse disease than the flu, and it's going around Slashdot.

And you are suffering from Chicken Little syndrome.
"A disaster might happen! Something must be done!"
"'X' is something"
"Then let's do 'X'!"

Re:The WHO needs to shut the fuck up (2, Informative)

John Betonschaar (178617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776716)

Plenty of doctor's and virologists acknowledged pretty quickly that the virus wasn't all that deadly, that vaccinating everyone wasn't really helpful or required and that the chances of the virus becoming something extremely lethal we're very small, and if it would have happened, we wouldn't have an answer to it anyway. Somehow these virologists weren't the ones dragged onto TV every night, writing apocalyptic newspaper articles and advising the government to buy all those vaccins. The virologists and doctors doubting the whole situation were mostly served-off as tinfoil conspiracy believers.

Also, most of your arguments are dogmatic and besides the point. The WTC attacks have nothing to do with a global pandemic, and they're incomparable. 3000 people on a scale of 6 billion in fact doesn't mean shit. Right now 100s of thousands of people are possibly dead in Haiti, and every year millions of people die from diseases nobody in the western world dies from anymore, such as cholera or dysentry. Neither of these facts are relevant to the H1N1 situation, just like your own arguments. Just picking and choosing random factos to support your position.

Last but not least what happened with the 1918 flu is most likely incomparable to what would happen when a really deadly flu virus came along right now, sanitation, health care and knowledge about viruses and how they spread haven't stood still the last 100 years.

Re:The WHO needs to shut the fuck up (1)

registrar (1220876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776674)

IMO the problem was that a very early case was a severe atypical pneumonia and was misdiagnosed as a coronavirus --- i.e. a possibly SARS relative. That would have been cause for panic, but when the misdiagnosis was revealed, it should have been wound back. Unfortunately the WHO (who were responsible for the misdiagnosis IIRC) were already too involved.

swine oil (1)

Spaham (634471) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776056)

Sounds like somebody fed them their own snake oil,
doesn't it sound exactly like going after (known to be) unexisting weapons of mass destruction ?

I don't know (2, Funny)

Orlando (12257) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776086)

..who will investigate the handling of swine flu information?

Re:I don't know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30776894)

He's on third, we're not talking about him.

Ghast my flabber! (1)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776094)

I am astounded that the UK Gov spent hundreds of millions on vaccine. Normally most of the cash spent on the NHS goes to layers of managers, travel and hotels for meetings and conferences, management consultants, rebranding etc.

On the front line, all redundancy has been taken out of the NHS, it operates (ha ha) at full capacity on a 'normal' day with hardly any reserve equipment (I am not talking cat scanners here, I am talking about basic kit that costs a couple of hundred quid), so if there is a bombing or an air crash you will find that the wounded are dispersed to whatever hospitals that can find room.

Please, let us not be ignorant next time. (1)

starbugs (1670420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776132)

I have to thank Canada's National Post newspaper. Throughout this 'non-crisis' it kept on telling people that the numbers did not add up. Maybe I would have felt differently if I had not gotten it myself before this hysteria reached its apex. The "normal" flu I got 3 months later was actually worse for me.

As usual, the biggest winners are the drug companies. (someone should write an article about stock company values before and after) The biggest losers are the people who were affected and died of H1N1, and in the end - us.

Next time a pandemic hits, we will be more ignorant. If it's another SARS then far more people will die before people get the message that it's not just another H1N1.

Swine flu ad on top of page. (1)

starbugs (1670420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776156)

The 'swine flu' ad that appears on top of this page while I'm writing this is hilarious (considering the topic).

Thank you Ads by Google for making me laugh.

Do you guys in GB see it?

This worked out OK. (5, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776164)

I have no problem with this. There was a reasonable likelihood of a megadeath sized pandemic. Appropriate steps were taken to prevent it. Some of those steps may have been unnecessary, but it didn't hurt and wasn't outrageously expensive.

The swine flue vaccination campaign in the US probably has already saved more lives than the entire Department of Homeland Security.

The Deathidemic that Never Was (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776202)

There was a reasonable likelihood of a megadeath sized pandemic.

Actually no. There was a small percentage of people that might have died, and a larger pool of people that would have been pretty sick for a few days. And even at the height of the thing, they were never sure if the percentage of people dying was all that high, because there was such a small sample rate to work from...

That was it.

There was never a call to get as worked up as everyone did, where they practically were driving down the streets with bullhorns demanding citizens get flu shots.

"Those who've never studied history are doomed..." (2, Insightful)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776440)

True. The previous H1N1 epidemic [wikipedia.org] barely made a dent.

50-100m deaths, when the global population was a quarter of what it is now, is hardly anything.

You're quite right, "a small percentage of people that might have died" - 5% is, indeed, a small percentage. That'd only be a quarter of a billion deaths these days.

The orders were put in at a time when no one knew whether it going to stay relatively harmless or mutate to something as potent as the 1918-1920 version of the same virus. Even then, it took them well over six months to create enough to just cover the high risk groups. They could've waited, to be sure... But, had we not got lucky and it had mutated, that'd have been a fun six to nine months of knowing we needed a vaccine but had wasted our chance to get started. Given the choice, I'd rather err on the side of caution than save a few dollars.

Re:"Those who've never studied history are doomed. (1)

atamido (1020905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776552)

That is poor logic. It is possible for any virus to mutate and become extremely dangerous. It is also possible for the mutation to cause existing vaccines to not work. The 1918 had a mortality rate of about 10%, and it was obvious to everyone that the current version wasn't anywhere near as dangerous. So spending a ton of money on vaccines for a single virus that isn't that dangerous, and might not even work if it became dangerous, when many other viruses have the same risks is poor judgment at best.

Now, if a highly virulent strain of human infectious airborne Ebola begins spreading through the US, then I'd be worried.

Re:The Deathidemic that Never Was (1)

sulliwan (810585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776442)

The economic impact of half of your workforce being sick for a few days is far worse than a few deaths. At least from the government's point of view.

Re:The Deathidemic that Never Was (1)

nbauman (624611) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776534)

There was a reasonable likelihood of a megadeath sized pandemic.

Actually no. There was a small percentage of people that might have died, and a larger pool of people that would have been pretty sick for a few days. And even at the height of the thing, they were never sure if the percentage of people dying was all that high, because there was such a small sample rate to work from...

That was it.

There was never a call to get as worked up as everyone did, where they practically were driving down the streets with bullhorns demanding citizens get flu shots.

Incredible ignorance. Where do you get your information from? According to the New England Journal of Medicine, an additional 3,000 young people died from influenza this year in the U.S., and that's unusual.

The influenza epidemic of 1917-18 caused 650,000 deaths in the U.S. When a new influenza virus comes up, how do you know it's not going to be another virus like that -- in time to produce vaccines? How do you know it's not going to cause 100,000 deaths? or even 10,000 deaths? You don't.

The UN and the doctors running this operation made the right choice.

Re:This worked out OK. (5, Insightful)

chiguy (522222) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776328)

It's ironic that Slashdotters, who railed at managers who didn't appreciate their hard work fixing the "Y2K disaster that wasn't", are on the other side here.

It's better to prevent a catastrophe than to fix one. And because a catastrophe didn't occur may mean the preventive measures were effective.

From the numbers and trends before availability of the vaccines, this was looking to be a major health issue. *Healthy* *young* people were dying and H1N1 was active during normally dormant periods.

Record levels of vaccination, especially of school children, and the fortunate displacement of seasonal flu very likely helped make this a health policy success.

Despite this full on assault (or defense), people are still dying of H1N1. ...I haven't seen whooping cough and rubella around for a while, maybe I'll have my child skip that vaccination too...ahem

I agree with the DHS comment too...but that's offtopic

Re:This worked out OK. - NO (1)

e70838 (976799) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776460)

I do not know for other countries, but the level of vaccination in France has not been high enough to explain the foreseen catastrophe did not occur.

We are just lucky that it did not.
If this catastrophe did occur, the failure of the French health policy would be the issue : vaccines arriving too late and too many people reluctant to be vaccinated.

For me, the French government, despite all the money spent, has completely failed. Is it the same in your countries ? I have heard that the vaccination campaign in us was better. Is it correct ? What percentage of population get vaccinated ?

Re:This worked out OK. (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776810)

It's better to prevent a catastrophe than to fix one

On the other hand, creating a crisis where none previously existed makes a lot of money.

What are the actual death numbers for H1N1 vs. normal flu deaths again?

I'm one of those allergic people people you hear about every now and then - I adapt to my surroundings, not expecting others to accommodate me. My opinion is that people have gone overboard regarding germs and allergies.

(I was one of those kids that had never-ending allergy tests and shots back in the 60s and 70s, I'm still here. Feel free to ask me questions)

Better safe than sorry (3, Interesting)

Cochonou (576531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776198)

There is similar turmoil in many countries. I find it a bit... opportunistic. At the time the governments ordered the vaccines, the threat wasn't well assessed. Even now, we will probably not know the big picture until the medical data is carefully analyzed. Imagine the kind of reactions we would see if the situation was the opposite, a pandemic still going strong with not enough vaccines.

Re:Better safe than sorry (1)

symes (835608) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776500)

Even now, we will probably not know the big picture until the medical data is carefully analyzed.

If we don't have systems in place that can rapidly analyse such data with sufficient accuracy to make firm judgements on the potential scale of the problem, systems that stand up to scrutiny, then someone has got their priorities seriously wrong. True, a false alarm is better than a miss in this case - but there was too much noise (including hysteria) when those decisions were made. Hopefully we can learn from all this and put appropriate systems in place and not stack the CDC deck so pessimistically.

251 doses?!? (1)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776242)

There are ~309 million people in the US. Did they really think they were going to get ~80% of the entire US population to get the swine flu vaccine? Somebody definitely got kickbacks.

Projected Deaths (3, Funny)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776288)

Has anyone done a comparison to deaths via peanut allergies?

Where will those vials go now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30776356)

The question now is... do they re-sell this overpriced, fairly untested product that their 1st world neighbors no longer need to buy, or will they just give it away as humanitarian aid to countries that never got a chance to get inoculated? It will eventually go bad, and looking good by giving things away is better than losing both "face" and losing their aging stock.

Scapegoating (2, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776400)

I'm all for criticizing the pharmaceutical companies, and their mishandling of the epidemic... but the major governments of the world were eager partners in spreading fear and mis-information. Now they're trying to deflect blame.

The hysterical press is the third entity that should share in the guilt.

WHO... (1)

jplopez (1067608) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776414)

WHO to investigate WHAT!?

Y2K V2.0 (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776432)

Sounds like all the recriminations on Mon Jan 3rd - 2000. "The world didn't end, so obviously we didn't need to do anything".

Hello, think a little! (5, Insightful)

oGMo (379) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776434)

Think about this a little. Assume you're the person in charge of handling this crisis. There are two main variables, each with two outcomes: "do something now?" and "is H1N1 a big deal?". For the purposes of this conversation, while there may be magnitudes of "is H1N1 a big deal?", any value other than "no, not at all" is about the same as "yes, very". But this leads us to four cases:

  1. We Do Something Now; H1N1 Is a Big Deal: In this case, you ordered lots of vaccine; the pandemic still affected a lot of people, but everything that could be done, was done. You spent money. It probably saved a lot of lives.
  2. We Don't Do Something Now; H1N1 Is a Big Deal: You decided to wait and see; the pandemic affected a lot of people. Millions sick. Significant fraction died. You screwed up, massive loss of life... but you didn't spend any money.
  3. We Do Something Now; H1N1 Not a Big Deal: You ordered lots of vaccine; people might have been affected, but few died. You had lots of vaccine left over.
  4. We Don't Do Something Now; H1N1 Not a Big Deal: You decided to wait and see; H1N1 never went anywhere, people might have been affected, but few died. You didn't spend any money.

Now look at these scenarios. First off, it should be obvious that not spending the money only "wins" in one out of four cases, and if you look at it politically, you were still gambling with peoples' lives. Second, and perhaps less obvious at first, is that it may actually be hard to tell the difference between 1 and 3. Without seeing both "do" and "do not" played out, can we tell if the vaccine was useful? Sure we may have lots left over, but ... maybe even what was used played a significant role. Compare this to Y2K; lots of money was spent, lots of work was done, and lots of systems didn't break. Was it wasted effort? Was Y2K not a credible issue?

In the end, it comes down to this: do you value money or the lives of people? You're not a doctor, but lots of credible people tell you this might be a significant problem. Do you cheap out and possibly save a few bucks, risking the lives of millions? Or do you spend a few million bucks possibly unnecessarily, to possibly save millions in the face of a credible threat?

Re:Hello, think a little! (2, Insightful)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776496)

Thanks for this post, I was about to write something very similar. In the end, it comes down to the simple fact that viruses and their effects on a population are not predictable. They mutate, and the result lies somewhere on the continuum from mild flu at one end, and full on Spanish flu at the other. It's completely plausible that H1N1 might have mutated into something very unpleasant indeed - it's *still* possible this will happen. What *really* irritates me is no-nothings who sit around saying "I told you it was hype" based on no insight into the issue. We lucked out. We could easily have not done.

Re:Hello, think a little! (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776732)

You're acting as if those 4 options had equal probability. They don't.

Possibly you borrowed this fallacious line of reasoning from the recent global warming videos doing the rounds on youtube.

You could equally apply the same model to building nuclear bunkers in your back yard.

1) We build the bunker now! War breaks out. My family survive.
2) We Don't build the bunker now! War breaks out. My family die.
3) We build the bunker now! War doesn't break out. My family survive.
4) We don't build the bunker now. War doesn't break out. My family survive.

Now, to use your own words ...
"Now look at these scenarios. First off, it should be obvious that not spending the money only "wins" in one out of four cases, and if you look at it politically, you were still gambling with peoples' lives. Second, and perhaps less obvious at first, is that it may actually be hard to tell the difference between 1 and 3."

So, want me to sell you a nuclear bunker? It's only 150,000 dollars. And as you can see, it's the ONLY logical choice.

Or maybe you want to rethink that?

Re:Hello, think a little! (2, Interesting)

gkai (1220896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776742)

If it was a credible threat, I would agree with your analysis....However, it was not: The WHO has been issuing warning every last six years with the regularity of a swiss clock, globally, monopolizing media attention for weeks, without the fear materializing even once. This last one is probably the one too much, as it has cost a lot of money to governments in a period where it is scarce, and having a lot of unused vaccines is very bad PR.
It is clear that WHO have incentives to scaremonger continuously, it justify its own existence and can not hurt its budget allocation. However, they also continously become less and less relevant each time they shout "Wolf!". Their utility as a early warning system is thus already compromised, and I wonder if it is still worth it, and budget allocation has to be reviewed....
Now, rightfully, some investigations will occur to check if they are other incentive in the WHO alarmism, in form of accointance with vaccine producers. If it is the case, WHO higher staff has to be fired, the whole stuff reorganised, so that it regain some legitimity and start fresh without the accumulated industry/media links that kill any chance of objectivism and promote bribery...

Re:Hello, think a little! (3, Insightful)

krou (1027572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776872)

I understand completely the scenarios you put forward, but the issue is not so much the decision made, but the information the decision was based on. Surely people are right to question whether there is a conflict of interest with regards to who is giving that information? In your scenario, the person making the decision is very, very susceptible to manipulation, because you're arguing that a decision must be made regardless of the quality or accuracy of the information.

This could be a very bad thing (1)

John Titor (880577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776482)

This will leave many large populations ripe for the picking. The next real threat will not be planned for. Sting a politician once like this and see how they react the next time, especially if the population and media starts bitching about wasteful spending. If I were an evil organization who has a stated goal of population control, and I had a virus I would be releasing it now. The real problem is the stupidity of the deals cut. If you buy xxx amount of vaccine (that isn't yet produced ) there should be a clause to cancel the order, or at the very least cancel the production and shift the balance of the payment to a future vaccines production.

Seems to have an eerie similarity to (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776556)

the global warming scare.

"Overestimate" WTF? (3, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30776566)

Guys, if you prepare for a disaster and it does not actually happen, that is a good thing.

Firefighters are generally not disappointed when there's no fire.

Totally Agree (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30776628)

Just because somehow you missed getting sideswiped by a big bus doesn't mean you stop wearing your seatbelt.

Simply because a ounce of prevention actually worked somehow an investigation needs to be done? It will be this type of complacence that will work against everyone during the next novel flu type.

Sorry to bring another element into this but the United States and the coalition of the willing spent billions of dollars to topple Afghanistan and Iraq, mess up Pakistan even further and now work over Yemen, because 3000 people died in 9/11, and risk the lives of countless soldiers in the name of security. And is inflicting ongoing misery to everyone in the region.

This flu has killed 10,000 Americans in a single season and somehow an investigation needs to be done, and somehow the 'panic' was hyped and 'overstated'.
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