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The great Swine Flu debacle

 Ireland's Big Issue 27 May 2019

(Originally published: 05/2010) With much needed millions spent on a vaccine that apparently we never needed Jennifer May uncovers some disturbing information regarding the World health organisation and pharmaceutical companies. (1279 words) - By Jennifer May

It all started last April when 20 people died in Mexico in the space of a couple of days after contracting a rarely seen strain of flu.   Within hours the country was on high alert, with schools, museums and libraries closed to contain what experts were (already) predicting would be a pandemic.  President Felipe Calderon cancelled any planned trips for an emergency meeting with cabinet to co-ordinate Mexico's response, travellers were advised not to go to Mexico, and the World Health Organization's spokesman Thomas Abraham expressed their 'deep concern with what appears to be a novel virus that has spread from human to human.'  By April 24th there were over 60 confirmed deaths from the virus, and the country, if not the world, was on lock-down.

Within days the virus had been identified as Swine Flu (or the virus HINI), a strain of influenza most commonly found in pigs but rarely passed onto humans, (although after the flu epidemic of 1918 when between 50 and 100 million people died worldwide, it was noted that pigs became infected at the same time as humans). There have been incidences of Swine Flu before the Mexican outbreak: In 1976 an army recruit died from the illness and four of his fellow soldiers fell ill - after his death panic led to an American vaccination programme. This was quickly abandoned after three old people died shortly after receiving immunisation, and added fears that the vaccine caused Guillan Barrè Syndrome a neuromuscular disorder that leads to paralysis (although this link has never been proved). In 1998, 1999 and 2007, there were minor incidences of the virus, in both pigs and humans in America and the Philippines, but only one recorded fatality.

However the Mexican outbreak caused immediate worldwide panic, and by late April the WHO's (World Health Organisation) Director General Margaret Chan had declared a 'public health emergency of international concern' under new guide-lines surrounding pandemics. (A pandemic is usually only declared when there is 'efficient and sustained human-to-human transmission of new flu viruses').  Very quickly countries across the globe were being urged by WHO to roll out vaccination programmes, to control this virus that was waiting in the wings to decimate the world's population.

By July 2009 in Britain - the second hardest hit country after the US - the medical establishment were working on a large-scale vaccination programme and had ordered enough of the serum to vaccinate every one of its 60 million residents; by September Australia was following suit having purchased 21 million doses of the vaccine with another 4 million in storage -enough to vaccinate every adult in the country. In September 2009, the U.S. began their own vaccination programme - the largest ever taken on in the history of the state, and had a stunning 250 million doses ready to distribute across the population. Close on their heels were Canada, Japan, China, Germany, France and Switzerland who had all put vaccination programmes in place and here in Ireland we saw the first batches of the vaccine delivered to GP's across the country on October 19th. 2009.

So far so good except for one small fact: the expected pandemic never actually materialised. The numbers of actual HINI fatalities recorded across the world by February 21st 2010 was only 16,226 deaths across 62 countries: while this may sound like a frightening number the reality is that this is a tiny amount.  Compare these figures to the annual death toll every year from normal influenza which is estimated to be between 250,000 and 500,000: according to the American Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, every year 36,000 people die in the States alone from seasonal influenza - more than twice the numbers worldwide for this supposedly deadly pandemic.

So what happened?  People in the know are now convinced that the pandemic was a hoax dreamed up by pharmaceutical companies in league with WHO to make billions of dollars off the back of frightened populations.  But unlike many other conspiracy theories, the people making these claims are not crackpots with axes to grind, but well respected physicians and thinkers, who are in the position to know the truth.

Last month the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, a 47 nation body, began hearings to investigate these claims. Chair on the Council of Europe's Committee on Health, Dr Wolfgang Wodarg, a highly qualified doctor who has produced several influential reports surrounding pandemics and many other issues for the European Union and is an Honorary member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe his panel's investigations have found that the pandemic was indeed a hoax, dreamt up by pharmaceutical companies and that, more worryingly, they were in league with the WHO, an organization that is supposed to be above reproach.

He explained that governments were 'threatened' by special interest groups within the pharmaceutical industry and 'WHO to buy vaccines and inject their citizens, although there was no reasonable scientific reason to do so, and that after the outbreak WHO moved to name what was really a mild flu as a deadly pandemic, even changing the rules regarding pandemics to do so.

'This was the mildest flu ever, so we have to find out what was going on in the WHO - why they did this pandemic alarm,' said Wodarg. 'The governments have sealed contracts with vaccine producers where they secure orders in advance. In this way they are sure of enormous gains without any financial risk. So they just wait until WHO says "pandemic" and activate the contracts.'  He also pointed out that select pharmaceutical companies were handed a monopoly on creating the vaccine, making them untold billions in profit.

For those of us who like a conspiracy theory the plot thickens when we realise that one Dr Julie Gerberding - the woman who would have driven the vaccination programmes, as Head of the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (and has been listed by Forbes as 32nd in the world's 100 most powerful women) - has now resigned her position with the CDP.  Her new position - yes you've guessed it - Head of the Merck's Global Vaccine operations.   And if we like our plots even thicker… let's take a look at the Board of Directors of Glaxo SmithKline, one of the companies who made millions producing the Swine Flu vaccine.  First up is Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer for England since 1998 holding responsibility across a whole field of public health areas; and who also happens to be Chairperson of the WHO. Second we have scientist Sir Roy Anderson who, as well as being paid a salary of £116,000 per year as a director in Glaxo, also sits on the British government's SAGE Committee - the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. And with James Murdock (son of Rupert-also a director of Glaxo) well placed to use his vast media empire to spread the bad news there was no way that the money wouldn't roll in. With this level of conflict of interest in one pharmaceutical company alone, it is surely a pattern that is repeated within other companies, verbatim.

'There is no law for the World Health Organization,' says Wodarg. 'So there is no one who punishes these people in WHO as we only have national law, so it is very important that we collect information and on a national level try to find those people responsible and punish them.' Any investigation will be too late for governments that have already spent millions on vaccines that cannot be returned, but it is stark reminder of the pervasive power of pharmaceutical companies at influencing government policy, a situation that seems set to continue for the foreseeable future.


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Originally published by Ireland's Big Issue. ©

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