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WHO accused of losing public confidence over flu pandemic
March 29th, 2010
The World Health Organisation and other public health bodies have “gambled away” public confidence by overstating the dangers of the flu pandemic, according to a draft report to the Council of Europe.
The report, by the Labour MP Paul Flynn, vice chair of the council’s health committee, says that a loss of credibility could endanger lives.
“This decline in confidence could be risky in the future,” says the report, seen by the Guardian. “When the next pandemic arises many persons may not give full credibility to recommendations put forward by WHO and other bodies. They may refuse to be vaccinated and may put their own health and lives at risk.”
In Britain, says Flynn, the discrepancy between the estimate of the numbers of people who would die from flu and the reality was dramatic. “In the United Kingdom, the Department of Health initially announced that around 65,000 deaths were to be expected. In the meantime, by the start of 2010, this estimate was downgraded to only 1,000 fatalities. By January 2010, fewer than 5,000 persons had been registered as having caught the disease and about 360 deaths had been noted,” says his report.
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