Friday, 16 October 2009

UK Swine Flu Vaccinations start 21 October 2009

According to the BBC article swine flu vaccinations are starting next week (October 21, 2009). The “priority groups” and “timetable” are as follows:

1. Individuals aged 6 months to 65 years with underlying health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and asthma
2. Pregnant women
3. Household contacts of people with compromised immune systems
4. Individuals aged over 65 with health problems

Hospitals - Vaccination of at-risk patients and frontline health workers to start on 21 October and expected to take between two to three days
GPs - Will start inviting patients to come and get the jab from 26 October, could take more than a month to get everyone in the priority groups vaccinated
Others - Mental health trusts will also receive jabs from 26 October, while local health mangers will coordinate the immunisation of health and social care staff working in the community

The BBC news says:

“There has been some concern about the situation regarding pregnant women as they have not been part of the clinical trial process that has tested the two jabs being used in the UK.”

But then goes onto say that:

“But experts have pointed out that a wealth of data exists on the use of seasonal flu vaccines on pregnant women - they are routinely included in the US programme, while those with health problems get the jab in the UK.”

Yet the H1N1 is supposed be a new strain (novel strain), so how can they say that pregnant women who haven't been part of the clinical trial process for the swine flu vaccine will be okay because pregnant women have had seasonal flu vaccines in the past? Seasonal flu is not the so called swine flu.

Sir Liam explains:

Sir Liam said it was important for pregnant women to be immunised as they have a particularly high risk of complications from swine flu - two pregnant women have died in the past week alone, including a 17-year-old from Scotland.

"The sensible approach to reducing risk is to get the vaccine. It will save lives."

Which is an odd statement to make when it was only in July 2009  reported:

“Sir Liam says pregnant women do not need to cease normal activities. He says most women who catch the virus will make an uncomplicated recovery.”

As clear as mud.

Although the BBC article goes on to inform us that it has not yet been decided whether the rest of the population (presumably those outside of the “priority groups”) will be vaccinated, the government has ordered enough vaccines for the whole population. I guess that means the decision has been made (behind closed doors) after all, otherwise why order enough for the whole population?

Curiously the article also explains that cases of swine flu are rising:

“In total, there were 27,000 new cases in England during the past week, compared with 18,000 the week before. 

Meanwhile, in Scotland, 12,500 people were thought to have contracted swine flu - up from 6,800.
Rises are also being seen in Northern Ireland and Wales.”

But going by what is happening in my area this seems to be unreliable data. So far those around me who have phoned the National Pandemic Flu Service for advice are given a list of symptoms to which they say yes or no. If they have any one of the symptoms from the list then they're classed as having swine flu. The name, date of birth and address of the patient is taken and an authorisation number given to the person who called which can then be taken to any local "antiviral Collection Point" to collect antivirals (Tamiflu). Presumably once an authorisation number has been given then the person is added to the swine flu data.

The problem is that from those who (I know) have phoned the hotline and been "confirmed" as having swine flu, one person had an ear and throat infection while a relative’s son merely had a cold with a temperature. If her son did have swine flu then it’s not as contagious as they’d like us to believe because no one else in the family or those who had been in contact with her son caught the “virus.”

This begs the question: How many of the reported 27,000 new swine flu cases in England and 12,500 in Scotland are actually suffering from minor ailments?

Out of curiosity the relative went to collect Tamiflu for her son. On producing the necessary identification for her son she was initially denied the medication. Why? Because the name of her son didn’t match their records....they had his middle name as his surname. She told me “I didn’t give them my son’s middle name over the phone so where did they get those records from?”

Where indeed. I don’t have the answer to that, but perhaps someone out there does.