Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Poland turns down H1N1 Vaccine due to lack of testing!

Calm and unvaccinated

Despite vocal criticism and an outbreak in Ukraine, the Polish government doesn't plan to buy the A/H1N1 vaccine.
Despite a serious outbreak of swine flu in neighboring Ukraine, the Polish government played it cool last week. Polish Health Minister Ewa Kopacz announced that she was not planning to stock up on swine-flu vaccine until it had been properly tested.

"The A/H1N1 vaccine is being produced by three companies, none of which has been able to assess its long-term effects. Their testing lasted a relatively short amount of time. It is not known whether [the vaccine] is safe for children and pregnant women," the health minister explained at a press conference last week.

Critics of the minister's decision expressed surprise that the European Commission's clearance of three the swine-flu vaccines for distribution in early October had not been enough to win her trust. Nor was the World Health Organization's October 30 recommendation of the vaccines, including for pregnant women. Vaccinations, meanwhile, have already begun in France, Italy, Germany and the Czech Republic.

At the same time, there seems to be little cause for panic. Many specialists have stressed that the swine flu virus is in fact more benign than seasonal flu. According to Poland's National Institute of Public Health, 193 cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Poland to date, with no deaths.

"There are currently eight cases of A/H1N1 in Warsaw," Wiesław Rozbicki, spokesperson for the Voivodship Sanitary and Epidemiological Station in Warsaw, told WBJ. Cases of swine flu are expected to become more common between January and March.

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