Alt-Coin Trader

H1N1 pandemic ending with a whimper, not a bang

"There was never any evidence, not from Day 1, and not anytime since, that this strain of flu was going to be a particularly dangerous strain, either in terms of its capacity to make people sick or its capacity to kill people." – Philip Alcabes, associate professor in urban public health at Hunter College's School of Health Sciences in the City University of New York.

Canwest News Service | Dec 4, 2009

By Sharon Kirkey

With H1N1 poised to enter history as the least deadly of four global flu pandemics, some experts are calling for an end to Canada's mass vaccination program.

Nature is already achieving what we would hope to achieve by vaccinating, they say.

H1N1's "reproductive number" — the number of people each infected person passes the virus to — was above one when the epidemic began, which led to the explosive initial increase in cases.

Now it is less than one, because many people have become immune, and each old case is making less than one new case. When the reproductive number falls below one, the epidemic can't sustain itself, and fades away.

The drop in cases suggests Canada has hit the critical fraction of the population that needs to be vaccinated to control the pandemic, says Dr. David Fisman, a University of Toronto expert in infectious disease dynamics.

Fisman can't understand the rational for continuing mass vaccinations. He said that for a virus as contagious as H1N1, fewer than 30 per cent of the population needed vaccination to reach a critical level of immunity.

Read More