Supporters counter that the additive is safe, and its use allows the drug manufacturer to quickly produce more doses of the vaccine. The SPIEGEL story mentioned that the GlaxoSmithKline vaccine, with the additive, has undergone more testing than the Baxter version.
An Interior Ministry spokesman told SPIEGEL that the Baxter vaccine had been ordered for all ministries and other agencies as well as for the employees of the Paul Ehrlich Institute, the authority responsible for approving vaccines.
The Green Party's health expert Biggi Bender said that the separate vaccines amount to "big risk for the people, little risk for the government. This type of second-class medicine cannot be allowed to exist in a democracy."
Leading physicians also complained about the planned vaccination. The head of the Institute for Hygiene and Public Health at the University of Bonn, Martin Exner, said: "The fact that politicians and top civil servants in ministries will be vaccinated with a vaccine other than the people is a terrible sign. Today politicians must take what they recommend."
The UK has seen an increase in cases in recent weeks. As a result, the country has purchased 60 million doses of Pandemrix.
The weekend scandal has drowned out a second debate which has been raging in recent weeks in the US and which has also found resonance here in Germany: whether such a massive vaccination program is necessary in the first place. Wolf-Dieter Ludwig, chairman of the Drug Commission of the German Medical Association, has called the planned vaccination campaign a "scandal." "The health authorities have fallen for a campaign from the pharmaceutical companies, who simply want to earn money with an alleged threat," he told SPIEGEL.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Posted by Meryl Nass, M.D. at 10:13 PM