Last Friday, POGO renewed its calls for transparency in the
government's H1N1 vaccine program. In a letter sent to Department of
Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, we urged
the Secretary to make public several aspects of the program, which
continues to suffer from shortages. In brief:
The vaccine shortage may be an inevitable result of DHHS’s mistakes of the past. Those mistakes should be disclosed so they won’t be repeated. The lack of disclosure is a problem that is easy and inexpensive to fix.
Specifically, we argue that the Department should disclose:
- Contracts for vaccine production;
- The extent to which the program depends on foreign manufacturers and the justification for this dependence;
- Decisions that led to the delay in production of alternative vaccines
This of course is not the first time we have made these recommendations (see our letters to Secretary Sebelius in July, August, and September). But after receiving a reply from DHHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dr. Nicole Lurie, we felt obliged to reiterate our concerns. Dr. Lurie affirmed the Department's commitment to transparency, but unfortunately, did not indicate any plans to address these key transparency issues.
-- Bryan Rahija
- POGO lays out the case for transparency when it comes to alternative vaccines, foreign manufacturers, and manufacturer contracts
- POGO expresses concern about the H1N1 vaccine program in July, August, and September letters to Secretary Sebelius
- DHHS response to POGO letters
- Compendium of POGO materials on H1N1 vaccine program