Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Vaccinate or Procrastinate?

Apparently the swine flu vaccination for children under five is being put on hold because the British Medical Association and the government cannot agree a deal.

Excuse me, I thought, before reading the opening paragraph of the article once more, have I got this right? Doctors and politicians are arguing over contractual flexibility while that group of the population most likely to be hospitalised with swine flu is left to take its chances.

How can it be that the UK found itself at the head of the queue when the vaccine became available, managed to get the immunisation programme for other at-risk groups under-way quite easily, only to fail our young children?

If we're to believe what we read, politicians are stubbornly refusing to give doctors any latitude during this time of crisis; while doctors consider our little ones time-consuming and fear that the vaccination of three million children, under their present contract, would leave them out of pocket.

So instead of concentrating on breaking the impasse, the government will try to get around the problem by roping in other health workers to administer the jabs. Just a hole or two in that plan. First, the Health Secretary is talking about 'local' plans and 'local' agreements with health authorities, which could surely result in another postcode lottery. Secondly, many of the health workers would need extra training, as they will not have had any previous experience of vaccinating. How much will this cost?

The hope is to get things going before Christmas. Well, that's alright then. Some infants can look forward to receiving the gift of immunisation while others will have to be satisfied with what they get from the lucky dip.

© 2009, copyright Martin T. Hodges


  1. Just wanted to let you know I have an award for you over at my blog. If your blog is award free or you choose not to participate, no worries - just my way of saying I enjoy your blog!

  2. Money is the root of all evil...

  3. oh dear, from what you say, it appears a bit of a mess. Perhaps it is just as well that swine flu is not the great Killer for the majority who get it, as the media made us believe at first.

  4. In California there are many "New Age" parents who decline all vaccinations for their children. Anecdotal, talk-show science and a lack of critical thinking. Darwin may intercede any day with measles, polio etc. let alone H1N1 virus.

  5. It's troubling, now that we've all been alerted to the danger of swine flu, now to find there's not enough vaccine. I've become a real fan of frequent hand washing,

  6. Simone

    Thank you so much for the offer of an award. It means a great deal to know that my posts are appreciated to that extent. However, awards can be a bit time consuming, if one sticks to the prescribed rules. So, with thanks once again, I'll decline.


    Hear, hear to that!


    Are you seriously implying that the media sometimes over-hype things? Surely not.

    English Rider

    Yes, I'm afraid many people have lost the ability to make decisions based on the real evidence before them. Often, it's not rocket science, just commonsense.


    Most medics agree that observation of basic personal hygiene is the most effective way to reduce risk of infection. Amazing how many people don't seem to get the gist of it though.

  7. Yes, I tend to agree with the comment about money being at the root of it all. In terms of the current Swine Flu scare it is not particularly important as it has proved to be a lot milder than it could have been. But if we view this as a practice run for what would happen if the thing mutated, then there are certainly lessons to be learnt.

  8. You are very welcome Martin. I understand completely for it took me three hours and two posts in order to do what was requires for the first award I was given.
    You take care,


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