Swine flu vaccine  Swine flu 2009  Wolfgang Wodarg  WHO


26 Jan 2010


WHO’s pandemic chief Dr Keiji Fukuda and pharmaceutical industry chief Dr Luc Hessel faced tough questions on WHO’s controversial decision to declare a pandemic emergency over the mild swine flu during a 2-hour public hearing at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg this morning in a heated session that ran over time.

The hearing chair, Swiss politician Liliane Maury Pasquier, said the hearing would be the start of a more substantial investigation into the false pandemic, starting with the preparation of a report by Labour MP Paul Flynn, and with more hearings on the pandemic scare to be scheduled  in the next parliamentary sessions of the Council of Europe.

During the hearing, Fukuda and Hessel faced a grilling from politicians on the influence of pharmaceutical companies on WHO’s decision to declare a pandemic over the mild swine flu as well as on the dangers of the inadequately tested swine flu vaccine.

“Having cried wolf on a number of occasions now, the WHO has destroyed its credibility. Rational, independent scientific advice. There was an imperative behind this which was a financial one. The industry having invested 4 billion dollars had a vested interest in fear, in getting people to buy the vaccine,” said Paul Flynn.

Professor Dr Ulrich Keil, Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Epidemiology at the University of Munster, said that WHO’s predictions were wrong “all the time”.

He  criticized WHO for not learning from its past mistakes over the SARS and Avian ‘Flu scares.

He said WHO had “completely exaggerated” the threat of the swine flu.

“In Germany, about 10,000 deaths are attributed to seasonal ‘flu, especially among older and frail people. Only a very small number of deaths, namely 187, can be attributed to the H1N1 virus in Germany – and many of those are dubious,” he said.

“We are witnesssing a gigantic misallocation of resources in terms of public health. Governments and public health services are wasting huge amounts of money in investing in pandemic diseases whose evidence base is weak. “

Fukuda came under especially fierce criticism for attempting to lamely defend the WHO’s decision to change the definition of a pandemic.

“The worst thing is that WHO is not evaluating what it has done. The worst thing is that the alarm will go on for two more years, that the pandemic will continue . That frightens me,” said Ulrich Keil.

“A number of scientists and others are questioning the decision of the WHO to declare an international pandemic. The H1N1 virus is not a new virus, but has been known to us for decades,” he said.

Dr Wolfgang Wodarg, who initiated the hearing, said that WHO was scare mongering and produced numbers about the number of victims of the pandemic based on estimates that had no basis in scientific fact.

He said that the only explanation for WHO’s decision to declare a swine flu pandemic was the influence of the pharmaceutical industry if “they are not crazy", thereby  brushing aside Fukuda’s repeated claim that WHO had adequate safeguards against conflicts of interests and had only declared a pandemic because the swine flu was a dangerous disease.

Wodarg said that the influence of pharmaceutical companies on WHO stemmed from public private partnerships that were initiated in 1998.

He said that an investigation needed to be extended to look at the role of national regulators in the pandemic scare, and emphasized the need for parliamentary investigations in the various countries.

Wodarg also touched on the dangers of the new vaccines, specifically the use of adjuvants such as squalene, noting that there is only limited data on the impact of adjuvants on elderly people and none on their impact in young children even though children have completely different immune systems and adjuvants can cause autoimmune diseases.

He said WHO was “irresponsible” for young people and pregnant women when no data for the vaccine’s safety.

WHO was also heavily criticized by a Swiss journalist for “aloofness and silence”

A journalist said WHO was “the worst in terms of relations with the media. “

“They are constantly derelict. We run after them constantly to get information. We do not have access to the information. Last Friday, Gregory Hartl  (WHO spokesperson) lied to us about this whole thing. He declared WHO had never changed the pandemic definition,” the journalist said.

Fukuda said that “communications was the single greatest challenge”, but said WHO was taking the criticism from the media.

Dr Margaret Chan had dismissed rumour, misinformation and disinformation of the scandal mongering media during the executive board session on January 18th.

Fukuda looked beaten at times as the questions flew in his direction at but always managed to recover and repeat ad nauseum the official line in a confident manner.

However, judging from the strength of criticism made against WHO in this hearing, the momentum for a thorough investigation into the swine flu scam looks unstoppable in spite of the fact that an urgent debate was not held this week by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly.

Especially tough criticism of WHO came from Wodarg and Keil who hammered home the points that punctured Fukuda's and Hessel's air of confidence.

But politicians and journalists also fiercely criticised the WHO pandemic chief and the head of the european vaccine maufacturers for apparently making a good business profit over the pandemic scare at the expense of public health.