People shunning influenza vaccine due to swine flu 'myths' it has been warned - Printable Version

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People shunning influenza vaccine due to swine flu 'myths' it has been warned - TriWooOx - 11-19-2010

Quote:Government experts are urging those eligible for the vaccine to have it otherwise they will remain vulnerable to flu this winter.

Uptake rates so far this season have shown that fewer people are having the jab than last year.

At the end of October, 48 per cent of over 65s had so far accepted the jab against 54 per cent at the same point last year. Whereas 26 per cent of under 65s in at risk groups had accepted it against 31 per cent last year.

Only one in ten frontline healthcare staff who have been offered the jab have had it, the figures show.

It is thought the lower uptake could be because the weather had been milder so people are not thinking about flu or due to ongoing misconceptions about the swine flu vaccine.

Professor David Salisbury, Director of Immunisation at the Department of Health said: "We don't know how serious flu will be this winter. But we do know that improving seasonal flu vaccine uptake will ensure that more vulnerable people are protected.

"This year's vaccine is the ordinary seasonal flu jab and protects against the dominant strains – this year it protects against three types of flu, including the type known as "swine flu".

"It is vital we don't underestimate the effects of this virus. It is not the same as getting a cold and it can seriously affect your health.

"My advice is to visit your local GP surgery and get the vaccination as soon as possible. This is the best form of protection for you and others."

For the first time pregnant women are being offered the seasonal flu vaccine because the H1N1 swine flu virus struck this group particularly hard during the pandemic and is expected to be the dominant form of flu around this winter also.

Others being offered it including the over 65s, frontline NHS staff and people aged under 65 who have long-term conditions.

Professor Salisbury said several concerns and misconceptions have arisen including that people think the seasonal flu vaccine has swine flu in it.

In response he said: "The vaccine doesn't have any actual live virus in it. It simply mimics the virus so your body creates antibodies to make you immune to that virus.

"There is more than one flu virus going about, so we have to use a vaccine that protects against the most common ones. That has to include swine flu this year because the World Health Organization predict that it will be the most common.

"Swine flu is now normal seasonal flu – if you don't have this jab you are not going to be protected."

Some sceptics believe the government is using up surplus stocks of pandemic vaccine that were not needed last year.

Prof Salisbury said: "Last year's pandemic flu vaccine was completely different and is not being used again at all. It's in storage. The seasonal flu vaccine has been created to protect against three strains of flu that are going around this year. It's been used safely in places like Australia in their winter."

Others have asked for the 'other bits' of the vaccine in order to avoid the 'swine flu bit'.

However Prof Salisbury added: "This wouldn't work because we can't predict which flu will attack you. The Government has to take advice from all the experts, and the World Health Organization were very clear that a vaccine to offer protection against three types of flu was the best option. Because swine flu will be the most common flu this year, you won't be protected without this vaccine."

Around 14 – 15 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine are available for use in the UK, which must be administered every year as it is altered to match the flu strains in circulation. Over 10,000 deaths were thought to be flu-related in a recent severe flu season.

RE: People shunning influenza vaccine due to swine flu 'myths' it has been warned - icosaface - 11-19-2010

What a bunch pseudo scientific crap!

RE: People shunning influenza vaccine due to swine flu 'myths' it has been warned - h3rm35 - 11-19-2010

What a fucking joke. That horrible "pandemic" they keep referring to that killed less people than the seasonal flu combined with the fact that health organizations now seem to have a magical crystal ball capable of divining what kind of flu most people will get just made me laugh...