Swine flu jabs to be repackaged as seasonal flu jabs, reports FT
June 30, 2010 by Jane Burgermeister


Swine flu pandemic vaccines are to be given to people as seasonal flu jabs in Europe and the USA from autumn, according to a report in the Financial Times.


The FT's Andrew Jack says that the gigantic surplus stocks of inadequately tested swine flu jabs with adjuvants are to be incorporated into the upcoming seasonal flu jab.


Governments are sitting on millions of jabs after they were rejected by tens of millions of people in Europe and the USA over safety concerns.


„If the drug companies see disappointing sales ahead, they have one compensation: modest cost savings through the use of surplus bulk stocks of H1N1 antigen prepared for the pandemic vaccine they can divert into their seasonal flu products," Jack writes on June 28th.


In a report on the swine flu vaccination campaign for the Council of Europe, UK MP Paul Flynn last week concluded that billions of pounds of tay payer's money was wasted around the world on buying vaccines and drugs to fight a swine flu "pandemic that never was".


"They [WHO] frightened the whole world with the possibility that a major plague was on the way," said Flynn.
"The result of that was that the world spent billions and billions of pounds on vaccines and anti-virals that will never be used. It is huge waste of money."


A review of the mass swine flu campaign is also being conducted by the French parliament.
But it seems the swine flu jabs have not gone away.


The WHO says the H1N1 pandemic swine flu virus has displaced other seasonal flu viruses, and has recommended it should be one of three strains in the vaccine for the coming winter flu season in Europe and the USA and Asia.


The vaccine is already being used in Australia and has sparked significant safety fears.
Australia's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jim Bishop, called on June 11th for doctors to stop giving the new seasonal flu vaccine to children five years and under because so many had to be hospitalised following the jab. There were even deaths reported in Western Australia.


The FT's Andrew Jack notes growing awareness of the lack of safety data on the swine flu jab and the lax controls when it comes to pharmacovigilance has made people more reluctant to take flu jabs, hurting the profits of pharmaceutical companies.


"European scepticism towards flu vaccines has left drug companies braced for flat sales across the EU this winter, in spite of the heightened profile and continued threat of infection caused by the pandemic over the past year," he writes.


"Sanofi-Aventis, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis, the world's largest vaccine makers, are all predicting no rise in demand across the EU, while expecting greater uptake in the US, bringing their estimated collective annual sales of flu vaccines over this year and last to more than $6bn."


A panel advising the CDC has recommended almost all Americans be obliged to new flu jab this autumn, but Jack indicates that Europeans could also soon face pressure to take the new jab.
"[A lower uptake in Europe] will spark fresh debate over whether the EU needs to strengthen measures to protect its citizens against flu," writes Jack.


"Andrin Oswald, head of vaccines at Novartis, said: "I'm a bit concerned that there is scepticism towards flu vaccines in some countries in Europe," writes Jack.