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How far did the UK government over-respond to the 2009 threat of swine flu?

By Adam Oliver


Managing major risks creates problems for governments when probabilities are hard to estimate and outcomes are uncertain. Reviewing the experience of the 2009 swine flu pandemic fear, Adam Oliver argues that the UK government over-reacted in some key respects. Partly underlying this response was an ‘aversion to ambiguity’ pattern of behaviour that has long been studied by social scientists. Ambiguity aversion led to an under appreciation by ministers of the opportunity costs of acting, resulting in the government prolonging an insufficiently targeted use of antivirals, and the purchasing of more flu vaccine than was necessary, at an additional cost of perhaps £500 million

Topics: RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Publisher: Blog post from London School of Economics & Political Science
Year: 2011
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online

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