The repeated pandemic health scares caused byan avian H5N1 and a new A(H1N1) human influenza virus are part of the culture of fear. Worst-case -thinking replaced balanced risk assessment. Worst-case thinking is motivated by the belief that the danger we face is so overwhelmingly catastrophic that we must act immediately. Rather than wait for information we need a pre-emptive strike.But if resources buy life, waisting resources waste life. The precautionary stocking of largely useless antivirals and the irrational vaccination policies against an unusually benign H1N1 virus wasted many billions of euros and eroded the trust of the public in health officials. The pandemic policy was never informed by evidence but by fear of worst-case scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBulletin of the World Health Organization
Journal publication date2011

ID: 236852