(Toronto, Ontario) According to Ontario's former Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Richard Schabas, public health officials are continuing to characterize H1N1 as a threat, even though the outbreak is essentially over.
The public is allegedly being fooled in order to unload millions of doses of vaccine already bought.
Schabas, who is medical officer of health for Hastings and Prince Edward Counties, estimates that 35 million of the 50.4 million doses of vaccine that Canada has ordered, at a cost of more than $400 million, will not be used.The Ontario pandemic plan predicted 13,000 deaths and 54,000 hospitalizations. So far, the figures are 104 H1N1-related deaths and 1,656 hospitalizations. Nevertheless, a new campaign has been launched to encourage more vaccinations.
"They bought 50 million doses of vaccine and it's an embarrassment to them that it's not being used," he said, adding that it became available too late.
"I think if you are going to make that push, you at least need to tell people that the outbreak is essentially over and you have to say to people any future risk of H1N1, at least this year, is extremely small. ... You shouldn't mislead people." Schabas said.
I suggest that Ontario needs to temper its alarmism and enhance its public health planning efforts.