CHARLOTTE, N.C. http://www.foxcharlotte.com/news/top-stories/95924084.html This Friday will mark the one year anniversary of the start of the H1N1 pandemic. But a new joint report from the British Medical Journal and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism questions the pandemic and alleged conflicts of interest between confidential World Health Organization advisors and their reported financial ties to pharmaceutical companies producing the vaccines.
Here in Charlotte, people are torn on whether the pandemic was all hype, one woman saying, "I got tired of hearing it” and another man saying, "I believe it was serious at the time. I truly believe that." Others were surprised to hear we are still in "pandemic" status. "I'm always worried about transmitting diseases, but I thought the risk had passed,” says northeast Charlotte's Edith Noble.
The pharmacist at Pike's Pharmacy in east Charlotte tells FOX Charlotte he hasn't had a customer ask for an H1N1 vaccine in months. In March, he shipped back his last 100 doses to the manufacturer because they'd expired.
CMC has 450 doses on hand, and says its seeing "very few cases." And the Mecklenburg County Health Department is currently storing 20,000 doses. The health department's Dr. Stephen Keener says, "We have a theory, whenever there's a shortage, people are interested in it. But as soon as there's adequate supply, it's just lost."
Keener expects the WHO to drop the pandemic status in the next month or so. As for all the H1N1 vaccines that expired or sit unused, he says this year, they won't be necessary. "The seasonal influenza vaccine this year will contain H1N1 in it.”
The WHO's director general has responded to the British Medical Journal report, saying her organization never provoked unjustified fear and did not declare a pandemic for financial gain. To read her complete response, click here: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2010/letter_bmj_20100608/en/index.html
To read the entire British Medical Journal report, click here: http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/340/jun03_4/c2912