The pandemic H1N1 virus is starting to pick up speed in Asia. People are dying and large numbers of children have become ill in New Zealand. The number of deaths in India seems to increase every day. And a hitherto unseen large scale outbreak among adults has just occurred in Thailand.
In the US, schools will start to resume after the summer vacation within the next couple of weeks. Plans to start vaccinations are under way. Vaccination this year might start as soon as September. But now, the US vaccination program is in jeopardy. Apparently, Margaret Chan, Director-General of the WHO, wants to kill it.
Getting people vaccinated for flu in the US is not easy. There is a powerful anti-vaccine lobby with well-known celebrity proponents and unlimited access to the media via outlets like the Huffington Post and Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. Even when children were dying on a daily basis from the virus last year, some parents refused to vaccinate their children because of concerns, mostly unfounded, raised by anti-science media personalities.
Although some anti-vaccine activists have accused the WHO of hyping the pandemic to aid the vaccine companies, nothing could be further from the truth. Margaret Chan delayed the vaccine production process last year long enough such that the big wave in North America occurred before most people could get vaccinated. She has repeatedly undermined the vaccine program by calling the virus “mild”, a flat out lie. Drs. Sandman and Lanard “criticised” the WHO for over-reacting to a “mild” virus. But who do you think pays them? The WHO. Margaret Chan is the anti-vaccine group’s most reliable ally.
There are media reports suggesting that Margaret Chan plans to declare the pandemic over today. There is zero scientific justification for such an assessment. This announcement will have no beneficial effects; but it will do one thing: It will make it very difficult to encourage people to get vaccinated in the US.
Margaret Chan couldn’t kill more people if she tried. But perhaps that is because she is trying.