Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/09/24/mail_flu_jabs/

Daily Mail hacks get emergency bird flu jabs

Swan-roasting Albanian H5N1 threat: What every parent should know

By Lester Haines

Posted in Bootnotes, 24th September 2008 11:00 GMT

There's some good news today for those of you concerned that as the impending bird flu pandemic apocalypse sweeps the UK - decimating the population in scenes of horror not witnessed since the last visitation of the Black Death - you might not be able to expend your dying breath expressing your anger that swan-roasting Albanian immigrants are actually to blame for the H5N1 catastrophe.

Fear not, because the Daily Mail will be on hand to provide the complete, unexpurgated truth, since management has decided to offer hacks doses of Tamiflu as part of its "Pandemic Influenza Management Scheme".

In fact, the powers that be will dispense free emergency medical rations to all Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) staff, and those who actually have close friends and/or family who still talk to them can buy Tamiflu to protect their chums and loved ones.

In a letter to employees at DMGT tentacle Northcliffe, revealed by The Press Association, group employment affairs director Ken Thompson issued the chilling warning that “recent scientific and press coverage have highlighted the threat of a possible influenza pandemic”.

The missive continues: “History has taught us that pandemics of this nature do occur - there were three in the 20th Century. Scientists believe that a flu pandemic is inevitable. It could result in large-scale illness and fatality. It would also lead to significant and sustained disruption to our businesses.

"The development of a vaccine to treat a pandemic virus cannot begin until there is an outbreak of the emerging strain. A vaccine would therefore not be available to the general population for six months after the start of the pandemic."

Yes, by which time everyone would be dead. Accordingly, Thompson said the company had decided "do everything we can to protect the occupational wellbeing” of staff.

Well, fair play to DMGT in moving with lightning speed to implement its "Pandemic Influenza Management Scheme". It seems like, oh, just a couple of years ago that trembling boffins warned that H5N1 promised to do what the combined forces of AIDS, bubonic plague, cholera, typhoid, malaria and ebola had dismally failed to achieve: A headline-worthy viral armageddon which could be firmly pinned on dole-scrounging Kosovar gypsies smuggling infected Vietnamese chickens through the Channel Tunnel. ®