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Government, Health, Law, Medicine   |   November 9, 2009 

Polish health minister questions vaccine safety

November 5, 2009 -- Polish Health Minister Ewa Kopacz addresses Polish Parliament on serious issues with swine flu vaccines safety.

On November 5th, 2009, the Polish Minister of Health, Dr.Ewa Kopacz, spoke before the Polish Parliament about the Swine Flu vaccine her country was purchasing.

“I would like to say that my priority during my twenty-odd years as a GP was, first of all, ‘do no harm’. I took that rule with me to my health ministry office. In situations in which I was to recommend a medicine to everybody, just like any other practitioner, I would ask myself, ‘Would I give it to my elderly mother, my child?’

“And exactly the same thought makes me cautious about double-checking the information that the health ministry was recommending to every Pole — to millions of Poles who haven’t the medical education that a minister has, that an expert, Professor Brydak has, an expert who has been working on flu for over forty years. He works in one of 189 flu research centers world-wide, one of which is in Poland. Can we, today, be accused of lack of knowledge about the flu? Can one question the opinion of a professor who has been working on flu for over forty years — not just on one type of flu – and has published hundreds of articles on the subject?

“I have just one fundamental question. Do we want to fight flu pandemic?

“Today, we have knowledge about agreements that other, much wealthier countries have signed with vaccine producers. Also, we know what was proposed to Poland. Due to negotiations being in progress, I can’t tell all today, but I can tell one thing – our law department found at least twenty points of doubt in the agreement.

“So what is a health minister’s duty? To sign agreements that are in the best interests of the Polish people or to sign agreements that are in the best interests of pharmaceutical companies?

“I know that there are three vaccines available on the market today, from three different producers. Each has a different amount of active substance and yet, strangely, they are all treated the same. Therefore isn’t it fair enough for a health minister and experts to have a slight doubt about it? Maybe the one with trace amount of active substance is just a “holy water” which we suppose can cure flu. Are we supposed to pay for that?

“We have an example of Germany that bought 50 million jabs, of which only 10% has been applied so far. Thirteen per cent of Germans want to take this “miraculous cure” today. It’s peculiar because the Germans have a high percentage of vaccine takers, so when in Poland, for one thousand people, only 52 (.005%) will take a seasonal flu jab, in Germany there will be 238 out of a thousand, which is 23%. So what happens that only thirteen percent of Germans want to take the flu vaccine and not 23% of the population usual with seasonal flu? Their government bought the vaccines and offered them for free and they don’t want it? What happened? Can those facts make us have second thoughts about buying the vaccines? Second thoughts about introducing a medicine that is kind of secret?

There are websites on which vaccine producers have an obligation to publish so-called vaccinational unwanted side-effects. The vaccinations in Europe started October 1st, 2009. I would like you to visit any of these websites and find any unwanted side-effects, any slightest thing, at least one, like allergic skin rash. That can happen with even the safest medicine. There are none on those websites – a perfect medicine! And since it’s so miraculous, then why doesn’t the producing company want to introduce their medicine to the free market and take responsibility for it? Why wouldn’t they say, ‘It’s a wonderful, safe medicine. Therefore, I will take responsibility for it. I will introduce it to the market and everything is clear and transparent’, instead of dropping the weight on us buyers?

“We do not have clinical test results, no detailed ingredients and no information about side effects. The vaccines are now in the fourth stage of tests – very short tests — and we still do not have the results. One kind of vaccine was tested on 160volunteers, aged 20-60, all healthy, not infected. Another kind of vaccine was tested on 600 volunteers between 18 and 60, all healthy. Is this good enough? Especially for us doctors present in this room? It is not good enough for me. I want to be sure enough to recommend this vaccine. We are not out of the line for the vaccine. During the negotiations, we want to take that time and use it to find out as much as we can about the vaccine. And then if the pandemic committee will accept this vaccine, we will buy it.

“Also, there are 1 billion people with seasonal flu worldwide every year, I million deaths from seasonal flu worldwide every year. And the statistics haven’t just been recorded for a year or two but for a very long time. Has anyone, anywhere, ever announced a pandemic because of a seasonal flu? And the seasonal flu is much more dangerous than swine flu. There are even deaths and severe complications. Has there ever been a pandemic announced?

“Those who push on me to buy vaccines, I ask you, ‘Why didn’t you scream and shout last year, two years ago, and in 2003’? In 2003 there were 1,200,000 Poles having seasonal flu. Has anyone here in this room shouted ‘Let’s buy vaccines for everyone’? I can’t recall such a thing.

“And finally I would like to say only one thing. The Polish nation is very wise. Poles can tell the truth from lies very precisely. They can also tell what is an objective situation and what is just a game”.

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