Vaccines to protect millions of Britons from swine flu will not be available for several months, the head of the World Health Organisation warns today.Heh!
Told you so…
Her remarks, in an interview with the Guardian, cast serious doubt on ministerial claims in parliament that the first stocks would arrive in August.You mean, ministers have been economical with the truth again? Say it ain’t so!
Dr Margaret Chan, WHO director general, said: "There's no vaccine. One should be available soon, in August. But having a vaccine available is not the same as having a vaccine that has been proven safe. Clinical trial data will not be available for another two to three months."So, not only are we not getting a vaccine for the foreseeable future, we don’t even know if we have one that will work yet.
Andy Burnham, the health secretary, urged people yesterday to keep the threat posed by swine flu "in perspective", noting the vast majority of sufferers made a full recovery. Britain was "front of the queue" for vaccine stocks, he told GMTV.I wonder which half….?
But while it is known that the government asked two major drug companies in June to urgently develop a vaccine, trials of preliminary batches of what they hope will be an effective jab have only begun in the last fortnight. A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "We expect delivery of the vaccine in the coming months.
Vaccine development can take some time. We hope to have enough vaccine by the end of the year to cover half of the population, but that's a forecast and it could go up or it could decrease. We can't be more precise about when it will be delivered and go into people's arms."