TOKYO: Japan’s health ministry said Tuesday it plans to inoculate thousands of health officials with a government stockpile of vaccines to prepare for a possible bird flu pandemic in humans.
Under the plan, pending approval Wednesday, about 6,000 quarantine and immigration officials, doctors and other health workers will be vaccinated by the end of this year, Health and Welfare Ministry official Kishiko Yamaguchi said.
Bird flu is relatively difficult for humans to catch, but health authorities fear it could mutate into a form that is easily spread among humans, which could cause a flu pandemic.
The Japanese health ministry is also considering vaccinating 10 million more people, including lawmakers, police, health workers and others in “lifeline” professions, if the initial tests prove safe and effective, Yamaguchi said.
World Health Organization spokesman Gregory Hartl called the planned vaccinations “a big roll of the dice,” but said the WHO didn’t oppose it.
“Obviously, the Japanese think there’s some benefit to be had from this, and we are not going to prevent an individual country from using their resources,” he said.
At least 239 people worldwide have died from bird flu since 2003, according to WHO. Most human cases have been linked to contact with infected poultry.
Source: International Herald-Tribune
I have been musing over the news treatment of two potential “crises”; global warming and the spread and mutation of a new and potentially deadly flu.
On the one hand, the leading hand wringers over global warming aren’t acting like it is the emergency that they say it is; they continue to live in large houses, fly around the world on private jets to “meetings” with self-absorbed people who are also flying in on private aircraft instead of, say, traveling by sailing ship and oxcarts to “meet” in some exotic vacation location (because Springfield, Missouri just isn’t a good enough place to discuss global warming, especially in the winter) in order to tell the rest of the world what everybody else should be doing and what others should be giving up to avert global devastation. Many people are convinced by increasingly hysterical press coverage that carbon dioxide is a horrible pollutant, and are not informed (either deliberately or through ignorance on the part of the press) about the lack of scientific basis for most of the global warming disaster claims.
On the other hand, while most people are ignoring or have dismissed information about H5N1 as scaremongering, the health departments of countries around the world are frantically preparing for the worst to the point of inoculating health care workers with vaccines that may or may not be safe and efficacious.
Perhaps I’m just a scaremongerer, but I believe people should be prepared with stored food/medications/supplies because, if H5N1 does make the mutation to pass easily between humans, we will in all likelihood not know until our countrymen begin suddenly sickening and dying, and we have all been placed under a mandatory house arrest to keep the disease from spreading.
Besides, I can always use the supplies during the summer indoor (if the roof stays on) camping season, also known as hurricane season.
As for global warming, after looking over the data the warming scare is based on, all I’ve got to say about that is you gotta be freakin’ kidding me. Their data is way past the questionable stage and heading into fraudulent territory. Do not buy a theory or used car from people that lie about their data.