* Mary – Dunstable | 19 Feb 10

It does make one wonder! Either the threat from swine flu to the under 5s is real – in which case the campaign to immunise them needs to be continued despite current low uptake **OR** the threat is not real, in which case it should stop now! Not in the surgery and not sure whether the LES (terms imposed by DH) was a target or IOS fee – but should a clinically necessary immunisation campaign depend on uptake? If so, why did we continue with MMR when the uptake was reduced by the autism scare?

* Stephen – Bury | 22 Feb 10

Why continue to vaccinate the under fives for another 5 weeks if it is no longer thought to be necessary based on risk vs benefit and how do we explain this to confused parents?

* chris | 22 Feb 10

So is there a risk or isn’t there? If not, just stop now, if there is continue! The whole thing seems very wooly and lacking in evidence based arguments. The uptake in our area is low as letters from PCT have only gone out in the last month to invite children in. There does seem to be a lot of factors impeding the roll out of the vaccine when if we had had the go ahead we were all prepared to work hard and get it done for everyone before Xmas!

* anglea | 22 Feb 10

So why have some practices today recieved letters from DOH telling them to continue vaccinating all at risks and under 5’s through spring and summer? Left hand/right hand or wrong information?

* david | 22 Feb 10

Does nothing at all for public confidence in GP advice we give to patients based on the official line(how many of us believed in it anyway?). Also now advised to give to travellers to Southern hemisphere – from a 10 dose vial- ??? Do we throw the rest away?Speechless!

* John | 22 Feb 10

I am shocked by the spin of Sir Liam. Not long ago he dissed the pulse survey as being ‘non-scientific’ and pointed to another survey as being more scientific that suggested over 70% of parents would go for the vaccine. Of course the Pulse survey was very accurate and the other survey favoured by Sir Liam turned out to be complete rubbish. How can such an obvious spin doctor who ignores the observation of reality in favour of propaganda that the Third Reich would be proud of hope to continue? No wonder he has resigned. He can’t go soon enough for me. Tip for his replacement – more hard science to back up your claims regarding the safety and efficacy of said vaccine and far less political spin and propaganda.

* neil | 22 Feb 10

The biggest problem that we have had on the front line is that swine flu has only been a mild illness. It never lived upto the apocolyptic chaos originally portrayed – 65,000 deaths, food and infrastrucure shortages… Unfortunately the DoH had commited itself to 60 million doses of vaccine and a stockpile of Tamiflu due to expire in 2010. Lessons learnt:- 1.Pandemic doesn’t = serious. Perhaps the old epidemiology definition needs to be restored. 2. If you can’t convince and engage the healthcare teams of the value of vaccination then your stockpiles are going nowhere

* margaret | 26 Feb 10

The decision by the Department of Health to simply abandon the under fives swine flu vaccination programme begs more questions than it answers. For a start why are we supposed to continue to vaccinate children tikl the end of March – if the DH has carried out a careful cost-risk benefit analysis and decided it is no longer thought to be necessary. And how do we explain this to confused parents? I know the decision to stockpile the vaccine had to made quickly and at a time when it was far from clear how serious the pandemic was going to be. But what’s changed since the decision was made to vaccinate children to now? Very little it seems. This decision seems to be based on financial expediencey rather than clinical judgment. Is ‘well if noone wants it let’s not bother anymore’ a reasonable way to run a vaccination campaign? However – maybe it’s a rather fitting way to end a rather ignominius chapter in the DH’s history

Source: Pulse GP magazine website:

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