It is naive to trust swine flu vaccine's safety
A few points in Dr Ellen Wright's piece in favour of swine flu vaccination worry me ('Do GPs have a duty to have the swine flu vaccine?').
First, she reports she was exposed to the virus in a close family member several weeks ago. This means that she does not need to be vaccinated, as she will already be immune.
Second, she claims the vaccine is being produced in the same way as annual flu vaccine, so will be no less safe. This is completely contrary to the information available from public health departments, which is not specific about what exactly is in the vaccine nor why it is being produced and packaged completely differently from the seasonal vaccine. It is very likely to contain certain controversial substances, such as thiomersal, that are not in the annual one.
Third, she says the vaccine is just about ready.
Well I have news for her - although our annual flu vaccines are now in our fridges and being given next week, we have just been told not to expect any swine flu vaccines until late November. I gather that primary care organisations are only just trying to work out their delivery logistics by asking GPs to tell them how many doses they will get through (even though we have no idea whether it is safe to recommend to patients or not) and how many we will be able to store in the fridge (while refusing to tell us how big the things are).
I also object to the question put in the debate. We cannot be forced to have administered to us a substance of unknown safety simply to enforce a Government message of coercion to patients.
From Dr David Church, Machynlleth, Wales