Flu vaccine stockpile faces delay

Why does this not surprise me. I suppose I should be grateful they are doing something.

The Department of Health is expected to tell the Government’s Working Group on Emergency Planning tomorrow that it will be next year before it has the one million packs of anti-viral drugs which international trends suggest would be best practice for preparing to deal with the emergence of any flu pandemic.

Separately, Department of Health officials are expected to warn that planning for a global flu pandemic, while aiming to reduce the rates of death and illness, can only mitigate the effects of the outbreak and that the consequences were still likely to be serious.

The Department of Health is expected to tell the working group that in the event of a pandemic, anti-viral drugs could be used to prevent influenza in the early stages, alleviate symptoms or shorten the duration of the condition, but that the production of a vaccine tailored to a specific strain could take six to nine months.

The department is also expected to tell the working group that it is also set to procure around 200,000 doses of the H5N1 vaccine against the avian influenza strain implicated in the recent outbreak in Asia.

The working group, chaired by Minister for Defence Willie O’Dea, is to deal with official preparations for a major international flu pandemic at its meeting tomorrow.

Willie O’Dea? Is that not like putting Michael Brown in charge of FEMA, or worse?