Final Word from Monday, August 24, 2009

Politicians in other countries would be scared to take on the World Health Organization and the pharmaceutical lobby, but Health Minister Dana Jurásková and her first deputy, Marek Šnajdr, did it on Fri. They referred to all the attention being given to swine flu as "media madness" drummed up by pharma companies, and they gave this as one reason for buying only a token number of vaccinations. Of Czech politicians, only ex-Health Minister David Rath has gone farther. He claimed that the swine flu virus was genetically engineered. This put him into the same bracket as those who argue that the side effects of the inoculation could be as dangerous as the virus itself. According to Minister Jurásková, GlaxoSmithKline's refusal to accept liability for any side effects was another reason for buying so few shots. She said the state will instead provide the indemnity, but she didn't mention the monetary value of a life. Czechs eager to get a shot might start realizing that they are ultimately the ones accepting the risk.[Czech Republic Novartis H1N1 Baxter GSK vaccine]

Glossary of difficult words

to drum up - to bring about (or attempt to bring about) by continuous, persistent effort;

token - done for the sake of appearances or as a symbolic gesture;

bracket - a category of people or things;

shot - injection;

indemnity - security or protection against a loss; assurance; compensation.


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