The European Union's "disproportionate" response to the outbreak of the H1N1 (swine flu) virus in 2009-2010 has been criticised by MEPs, the European Parliament said on January 25 2011.
The resolution adopted by the European Parliament's public health committee addresses the cost of vaccination programmes and relative risks that were faced, the statement said.
The criticism arises from differences in vaccination schemes in various EU countries. In some, they could cover the entire population while in others, such as Poland, there were no preemptive vaccination measures in place, the statement said.
The Bulgarian Health Ministry has confirmed that there are sufficient supplies of anti-viral injections in stock, which would be enough to treat the population during the peak season and beyond. The ministry has said that hospitals would be provided with additional quantities of anti-viral drugs, if deemed necessary.
The vaccinations are free in Bulgaria but the treatment is not mandatory, according to the report. In fact, on diagnosis, people would only be advised by medical authorities to get the jab if other methods are deemed insufficient.
MEPs called for further safeguards to prevent potential conflicts of interest. Names of experts who advise European health authorities on the matter should be published, the statement said.
If this is not achieved, under EU legislation, full liability for the vaccines should remain with the manufacturer, and not with the country.
Meanwhile, the flu epidemic in Bulgaria is about to reach its peak in the next seven days as all schools are closed for the week, until January 31.