• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Swine flu vaccine worth €250 mln to be destroyed

The Local · 17 Aug 2011, 11:13

Published: 17 Aug 2011 11:13 GMT+02:00

A report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Wednesday totted up the amount of Pandemrix vaccine, which state health authorities were scrambling to obtain at the height of the pandemic, but are now disposing.

The issue has created bad blood between the state health ministries and their federal counterpart. The state authorities have the responsibility to fund and organise the purchase and administration of vaccines, but they have to follow the recommendations of federal authorities.

The guidelines were for the provision of vaccine for a third of the population - this is the minimum considered necessary to keep everything running and protect a population in general.

Yet the Germans proved less willing than expected, to have the vaccine – after a widely publicized argument between various medics about the safety of GlaxoSmithKline’s product. It was said that Pandemrix had not been sufficiently tested to be administered to the public, after it was licensed in an accelerated process.

GlaxoSmithKline’s initially slow production led to panicky efforts by authorities to secure the supplies they needed while the number of cases increased and the H1N1 virus spread across the world. In the end it turned out that not two, but only one dose was necessary to provoke the desired immune system response – and that for most of those infected, the disease was much milder than expected.

In the end only around seven percent of Germans took the shot, leaving the authorities sitting on stockpiles of the vaccine. Efforts to sell or even give the Pandemrix to other countries have largely failed, the FAZ reported.

Germany’s largest state North Rhine-Westphalia bought up 7.1 million doses of Pandemrix when the pandemic was officially declared. Around a million of these were used, and a small number is likely to still be stored by doctors and pharmacists, leaving more than six million in decentralized state storage. Now that their use-by date has been reached, these doses will have to be disposed of.

Although the controlled burning of vaccine stocks is not expected to be terribly expensive – the FAZ said it costs around €100 a ton – the waste of money cannot be denied.

North Rhine-Westphalia had followed federal guidelines and bought in enough vaccine to inoculate a third of its nearly 18-million population – at a cost of €62 million. This leaves the authorities having to destroy around €46.9 million worth of vaccine – its purchase price plus two years of storage costs.

“We reckon at the end with costs of nearly €47 million costs,” said Serap Celen, the state’s Health Ministry spokesman.

Story continues below…

Efforts made by the state authorities to get the federal government to shoulder some of the costs have repeatedly failed.

In total the states spent €303.2 million on Pandemrix, and are estimated to be left with around €250 million worth of soon to be out-of-date vaccine. Although there different batches have different use-by dates, the last one will be reached at the end of this November. Since the WHO declared the pandemic over, the vaccine is, “not much more than expensive waste,” the FAZ wrote.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

12:57 August 17, 2011 by marimay
Good. It's all BS anyway.
15:48 August 17, 2011 by jbaker
That's correct - It is all B.S. . There is no Flu vaccine that will prevent you from getting the Flu. Keep your self Healthy by eating correctly and supplementing where you are deficient with certain vitamins.

Most people who recieve the vaccine do get the flu. The vaccines are just full of poisons that weaken your body.

Stop being a sheep by following what the so called medical professionals tell you. It's all a Scam!
03:01 August 18, 2011 by xWolpertinger
jbaker: may I ask for the scientific studies to back up your claims?
10:27 August 18, 2011 by PiggyPoo
@xWolpertinger: Where are the scientific studies which prove that flu vaccines prevent you from going down with the current flu form? Any form of scientific evidence will have been funded by the drug companies anyway. So much for unbiased, independent testing.

I know a great number of people who toddle along to the doc every year for their flu vaccine. Every single one of them is then ill afterwards, to a greater or lesser degree. I don't know a single person who has the vaccine and does not have some form of sniffle/heavy head/throat problems for at least a few days afterwards.

Flu vaccines are based on previous forms of flu and not the current one(s).

Whenever there is an outbreak, the docs always say that children, old people and the sick are more at risk. So if you are a reasonably healthy adult, just eat good food (as jbaker already said) and stop pumping your body full of unnecessary chemicals.

We can only hope that the scenario in "I am legend" (film with Will Smith) never becomes reality.
Today's headlines
Lion shot dead at Leipzig Zoo after breaking out of cage
Motshegetsi (l) und Majo. Photo: DPA

A young male lion was shot dead at Leipzig Zoo on Thursday afternoon after he broke out of his enclosure.

EU takes Germany to court for 'discriminatory' foreigner toll
A sign that reads "toll" along the Autobahn by Rostock. Photo: DPA.

The European Commission on Thursday said it is taking Germany to the EU Court of Justice because of the country's plan to impose a road toll that would mainly charge foreign drivers.

After 3-year trial, suspected neo-Nazi terrorist speaks out
Beate Zschäpe. Photo: DPA

Beate Zschäpe, the only living member of an underground neo-Nazi cell accused of murdering ten people, has spoken to the court in Munich after three years of silence.

Green party wants only e-cars on Autobahn by 2030
Photo: DPA.

The environmentalist Green party has an ambitious plan for German cars to be petrol- and diesel-free within the next 15 years.

Commerzbank to make one in five staff redundant by 2020
Photo: DPA

Germany's second largest lender Commerzbank said on Thursday it plans to cut 9,600 jobs by 2020 and withhold dividends to pay for a €1.1 billion restructuring.

Germany's favourite smoker wins battle against eviction
Photo: DPA

How a pensioner with a serious smoking habit won a years-long fight for his right to keep his home - and his favourite pastime.

Thousands evacuated after WWII bomb found in Cologne
File photo of a Second World War bomb: DPA

Several thousands people were being evacuated from a district of Cologne just north of the old town on Thursday morning, after a Second World War bomb was found in a parking lot.

Kidnapped German journalist and her baby freed in Syria
File photo of a Syrian soldier: SANA/DPA.

A German woman who was kidnapped in Syria last year while she was pregnant has been freed along with her baby, the German Foreign Office said on Wednesday.

Air Berlin to cut 1,200 jobs and halve airline fleet
Photo: DPA.

Struggling Air Berlin, Germany's second-largest airline, announced on Wednesday a major restructuring plan that shrinks its fleet and cuts 1,200 jobs.

Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Photo: Thomas Wolf/Wikimedia Commons.

From stunning chalk-white cliffs to fairy tale castles, Germany has some breathtaking sights to see, perfect for social media.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
6,623
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd