Saturday, May 8, 2010

EU parliament urged to investigate H1N1 outbreak/ The

From The
More than 200 deputies have signed a proposal calling for a special committee on the H1N1 pandemic.
The members, who come from across the political divide, said one of its aims would be to evaluate the EU's dependence on the World Health Organisation.

Speaking at a news conference in parliament on Wednesday, Belgian Greens MEP Isabelle Durant said the management of the outbreak had "seriously undermined the credibility of, and confidence in our institutions".

She is one of the MEPs who have sent a letter to parliament's president Jerzy Buzek asking him to set up a committee to investigate last year's outbreak.

The letter says, "Member states have reportedly spent billions on anti-H1N1 vaccines despite the fact that shortly after it emerged, it was found to cause only mild illness.

"The number of deaths due to H1N1 is very small compared to those estimated for seasonal influenza."

It adds, "It is of paramount importance to ensure future EU pandemic responses carefully assess the nature of the pandemic and the risks of vaccination strategies."

Another signatory, Polish EPP member Boguslaw Sonik said, "We want to know why the commission and public health authorities did not issue a statement modifying their initial strategy.

"Also, why did the EU institutions not provide the public and media with good, objective up-to-date communication?"

According to data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, H1N1 caused 1528 deaths.

In comparison, commission statistics show that seasonal influenza causes some 40,000 deaths in an average year and up to 220,000 in a severe year.

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