high-yield eggs, one dose per person, high efficacy, unparalleled acceptance, favorable publicity, sustained congressional support, wide private involvement, adequate state operations, three months to complete vaccinations, no useful stockpiling, no liability legislation, few (if any) opportunity costs, etcetera.And the report's authors emphasize:
In short, we advocate a comprehensive definition and review of assumptions everyone can see and weigh before decision and remember after. The review thus should be public.Today, it is unclear what assumptions policymakers have made about the Swine Flu program. In 1976, President Ford was told an epidemic resembling the 1918 Pandemic was lurking, and he was pressed into acquiescing to the program with limited information, on the basis of "expert" advice.
In the context of the 1976 Swine Flu Program, the 1978 NAS report calls attention to a major problem with expert advisory panels:
Panels tend toward “group think” and over-selling, tendencies nurtured by long-standing interchanges and intimacy, as in the influenza fraternity. Other competent scientists, who do not share their group identity or vested interests, should be able to appraise the scientific logic applied to available evidence. In medicine, as in law, there are rules of evidence by which argument can be tested.Expert medical and scientific opinion, obtained from outside the beltway and devoid of personal agendas, is of critical importance. Policymakers are unpracticed at dealing with the breadth of issues to be considered in large vaccination programs, and with attendant risk/benefit analysis. Can they, and we, learn the lessons of 1976?