Thursday 16 July 2009

So, That Vaccine Then…

…it’s going to take a bit longer than the government’s spin would seem to indicate:
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.

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.

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."
I wonder which half….?


Anonymous said...

Neither can they be precise about whether it will be effective.

Flu vaccines are specific for virus strains.

Every Spring the big drug companies research in the far East, make their best guess as to what the coming winter's flu strain will be, and manufacture vaccine accordingly.

Often they get it right, but in some years they get it wrong and the vaccine is completely useless because it's effective against a virus that didn't actually become the dominant one.

So any kind of mutation in the H1N1 between now and whenever the vaccine becomes available would render it completely worthless.

Are we all doomed?

Probably not. Thousands of people die of the flu in the UK every winter, even without political hype and breathless panic from the bbc.

Best advice - keep calm and carry on.

JuliaM said...

"Thousands of people die of the flu in the UK every winter, even without political hype and breathless panic from the bbc."

Indeed. But Panic Sells...

Von Spreuth said...

Well. I just read that "Ooohhhh please do THAT to me again George" Blairs "Wife" has caught it, so just see how quick things move NOW.

Von Brandenburg-Preußen.