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“Why Don’t We Blow the System Up?”


by Peter Breggin MD & Ginger Breggin


“Why don’t we blow the system up? Obviously, we can’t just turn off the spigot on the system we have and then say, ‘hey, everyone in the world should get this new vaccine we haven’t given to anyone yet.’ But there must be some way…” 

Michael Specter, Staff Writer, The New Yorker; Moderator at the Milkin Institutes Future Health Summit 2019 panel: “Making Influenza History: The Quest for a Universal Vaccine.”

Gosh. How prescient is that question? In October 2019, Michael Specter, the moderator of the workshop “Making Influenza History: The Quest for a Universal Vaccine,” asks why don’t we blow the system up? And, poof, a pandemic arrives two months later.  

Time and again, I see references to the 1918 influenza outbreak in literature and the meetings and lectures leading up to 2020.1 At that same workshop in 2019, Dr. Rick Bright, then the Director of BARDA, raised the specter of a new outbreak like the 1918 pandemic. BARDA is the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority in the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). BARDA is tasked with overseeing and coordinating the development of vaccines, drugs, therapies, and diagnostic tools for public health emergencies.2



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