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One in two GPs 'will refuse swine flu vaccine'

By Lilian Anekwe

Exclusive: Nearly half of GPs have decided to not be vaccinated against swine flu once a jab becomes available in the autumn.

A snapshot survey of GPs conducted by Pulse found that 56 of the 115 GPs surveyed said they did not intend to receive the jab.

Last week chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson announced GPs and frontline healthcare workers would be given top priority in the queue for the swine flu vaccine.

Sir Liam Donaldson vowed to vaccinate healthcare staff by Christmas at the latest, in order to keep working during the expected second wave of the swine flu – which is expected to be more severe in the winter with a worst case scenario of 65,000 deaths according to Department of Health modelling.

But the Pulse poll shows the extent of the reluctance amongst GPs to have the jab. Of the 115 GPs surveyed, 56 said they did not intend to be vaccinated, 48 said they would have the jab when it was available, and 11 were undecided.

It comes as public opinion appears to be swaying in the face of continuing concern over the safety of the vaccine.

A study published in the journal Emerging Health Threats found parents may refuse to get immunised or vaccinate their children against a pandemic virus if they believe the risks of a novel vaccine outweigh the benefits.

The Canadian researchers conducted 11 focus groups and found the public would be reluctant to get vaccinated against an illness perceived as mild, and were ‘very concerned' that a vaccine would be rushed through without sufficient testing for safety.

GPs and frontline workers will be prioritised for vaccination

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