Forty million shots — worth more than $250 million — expired Wednesday and are already marked for destruction. A government estimate cited in various news reports claimed another 30 million doses would go bad soon. Those are not expected to be used either, and will also likely be disposed of.
"It's a lot, by historical standards," Food and Drug Administration vaccine boss Jerry Weir admitted to the Associated Press. The quantity of useless shots may even set a new record — more than four times the amount of seasonal flu vaccines normally left over.
Predictably, federal officials responsible for squandering nearly half of a billion dollars on the wasted vaccines are defending the purchases. "Although there were many doses of vaccine that went unused, it was much more appropriate to have been prepared for the worst case scenario than to have had too few doses," claimed a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
In America, demand for vaccines was so low that, according to the AP, “by January local health departments were trying gimmicks to get anyone at all to come in for a shot.” But it didn’t work.
There were several reasons why so many tens of millions of swine flu inoculations never ended up being used. For one, swine flu turned out to be extremely mild compared to even the seasonal flu, which is linked to the deaths of more than three times the amount of Americans killed by swine flu last season. Also, countless experts raised concerns about the risks and efficacy of the barely tested H1N1 vaccines, as reported by The New American magazine at the height of the alleged “pandemic.”
A similar scenario is playing out around the world, where governments stockpiled massive quantities of vaccines that will now have to be destroyed. The antiviral drug Tamiflu was also purchased in huge amounts by governments, and a lot of that is expiring now too.
Meanwhile, the Council of Europe strongly criticized the World Health Organization’s fear-mongering and vaccine promotion. “The handling by the WHO of the H1N1 pandemic led to a waste of large sums of public money and unjustified scares and fears about health risks faced by the European public,” the European body concluded, saying there was “overwhelming evidence that the seriousness of the pandemic was vastly overrated by WHO.” The world health body actually changed the definition of a pandemic during the crisis, allowing it to raise the alert.
The European investigation also found improper influence by pharmaceutical companies on the international body’s decision making, calling for the implementation of safe-guards against “undue influence by vested interests.” It also chastised the media and warned against future “sensationalism and scaremongering in the public health domain.”
“The ‘birds-flu’-campaign (2005/06) combined with the 'swine-flu'-campaign seem to have caused a great deal of damage not only to some vaccinated patients and to public health-budgets, but to the credibility and accountability of important international health-agencies,” noted a resolution approved by the council’s parliamentary health committee.
The man who led the charge for the investigation, health committee chairman and medical doctor Wolfgang Wodarg — a fierce critic of the vaccines — called the “false pandemic” one of the greatest medical scandals of the last century.
“The victims among millions of needlessly vaccinated people must be protected by their states,” he said, noting that the pharmaceutical companies and their cohorts were willing to "inflict bodily harm in their pursuit of profits." He has also called for legal action against parties responsible for the fiasco.
Separately, an investigation conducted by the British Medical Journal and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism also exposed improper conflicts of interest among WHO scientists and industry in the swine-flu response. At least three of the organization’s “experts” were paid by vaccine manufacturers, the inquiry found.
"Each time the so-called experts told us that millions of people would be killed worldwide by the respective viruses,” WHO advisor Dr. Ulrich Keil conceded to the AP. “We have learned that the experts were utterly wrong."
Earlier this year, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel ruled that all Americans should get the seasonal flu vaccine. “The CDC almost certainly will make universal flu vaccination official U.S. policy for this fall's 2010-2011 flu season, as it consistently follows the advice of the panel of outside experts, called the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP),” noted a report on WebMD.
But some health experts and constitutional scholars are attacking the idea, saying that even if it were a good idea, the federal government does not have any business in medicine in the first place. The recent swine-flu fiasco proved this point well.
Governments squandering billions of dollars on unwanted vaccines illustrates beautifully why the market should be responsible for determining supply, not bureaucrats. Not only does the federal government lack the constitutional authority to purchase or encourage inoculations (let alone shield manufactures from liability), it doesn’t have the resources to do so. With more than $13 trillion in U.S. government debt already, consumers should decide whether or not to purchase vaccines — not “experts” in unconstitutional federal agencies.