Its official… the World Health Organization has officially declared the swine flu pandemic over. Even with the minimal impact of the H1N1 virus, the U.S. government still managed to spend $1.6 billion on a vaccine program. Now, most of the unused vaccine surplus will be destroyed and the money spent to make them is wasted. How did fears over the swine flu become so blown out of proportion? Dr. Marc Siegel has some answers.
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“The World Health Organization, back in 2005, in response to the bird flu scare, changed their criteria as to what a pandemic is,” Siegel explained. “They didn’t distinguish between something that killed people and something that was prevalent.”
Siegel does believe that the H1N1 outbreak was over-hyped, and questions why there was such a strong push for vaccines. “The WHO was hyping this in order to get a lot of countries to make vaccines, and we’re all very suspicious of that because a lot of the vaccines were wasted.”
Siegel thinks that we need to change the language that we use so that a situation like this doesn’t happen again. “In [the financial] world as well as in [the medical world] we need a language to convey risk,” he said. “They should have been more timely in their response and they should have used less hyped terms.”