Flu expert: Vaccine sourcing key in pandemic

AP News
Posted: Mar 28, 2011 11:46 AM
Flu expert: Vaccine sourcing key in pandemic

An American expert tasked with reviewing the World Health Organization's response to the swine flu outbreak said Monday that a more efficient way of obtaining and distributing vaccines is needed to prepare for future pandemics.

Dr. Harvey Fineberg said rich nations were able to get vaccine for themselves easily but WHO's efforts to obtain millions of shots for poor countries were "very problematic."

Fineberg, the president of the Institute of Medicine in Washington, said the slow and difficult procedure "remains a very serious impediment to the world's ability to deal with a future pandemic."

Fineberg told reporters in Geneva on Monday that his independent expert committee found no proof of misconduct in the way WHO reacted to the 2009 outbreak of the H1N1 flu.

Lawmakers in Europe repeatedly accused WHO of overstating the danger of swine flu and playing into the hands of the pharmaceutical industry, which earned millions from the outbreak.