H1N1 vaccinations and the WHO

I’m preparing for the Cheltenham Science Festival on Wednesday – and this video feature from the BMJ/Bureau of Investigative Journalism is outstanding. Do watch, if you are interested in the conflicts of interest the WHO might not have told you about when issuing guidelines for dealing with H1N1.

I am up for defending myself for not being vaccinated against it or seasonal flu on the basis of evidence (or lack of it) . Childhood vaccinations, though, are well evidenced – I was first in the queue with my wee ones. Looking forward to the debate.

2 Responses to “H1N1 vaccinations and the WHO”

  1. 1971Thistle June 8, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    Is it just me, or does the majority of the blame here not lie with the experts, who apparently thought that the conflict of interests was not an issue? As experts, presumably they’re not stupid, and must have considered the implications of accepting fees…much in the same way that MPs ‘were doing nothing wrong’, when the whole world could ssee that there moral compass was not consulted.

    At the same time WHO does not have a huge pool of experts to choose from; at worst they have been (very) naive, in using these people, but that was who was available.

    One other thought; if the problem is the passing of money, then it takes two to tango; I recall when the Hamiltons and Al-Fayed went to court, the problem lay with Neil Hamilton taking the money, not the fact that money was offered.

    Just a thought.

  2. Margaret McCartney
    margaretmccartney June 10, 2010 at 6:15 pm #

    agree. I think that the WHO have a lot of explaining to do, but there is now a culture of conflicts of interest not ‘seeming’ to matter – because so many people have them.
    Rare is the researcher who has decided to stay out of the pay of pharma. Even then, there is a lot of good research paid for by pharmaceutical companies, and it likely wouldn’t have got done at all were it not for them funding it. But one has to keep independence…