1/12/2010

Flu - Will the new government be as inept and stupid as Labour ?

One of the things that has highlighted the utter incompetence of Labour to me and underlines why they do not deserve another chance in power has been their handling of the swine flu outbreak.

In the first place, they had a policy of mass over reaction in the media coupled with a complete lack of real action by the government when it came to taking real action. The government's overreaction might have made sense were it not for the fact that the UK government was pressing the World Health Organisation to not declare the swine flu out break as a pandemic. It might have also made sense had the UK government taken immediate action to prevent people flying to Mexico. As it was. the weekend that the swine flu story broke and the inital fears were that the death/kill rate was as high as 8-10%, the UK did nothing to stop flights. of course, in hindsight there may have been no need to cancel flights, but the government did not actually know this.

Then there was the doling out of tamiflu to anyone. This is never a good idea as it breed resistance. My own experience with my son having flu over Christmas was that although he was issued with tamiflu, the doctors advice was "don't take it unless absolutely necessary". Does this make sense to anyone ?

Then there has been the absolute lash up that has been the vaccination programme. After being told we were "as prepared as anyone in the world", it turned out we weren't. The fool that is our Cheif Medical Officer, Liam Donaldson, said that we would have a vaccine by july, then August, then September, then they didn't actualy arrive until the very end of October. And if we were so prepared and ahead of every other country, why did we not get our vaccines until three weeks after Australia ?

So the vaccination arrive, then we start the vaccination programmes by only getting 1 million people injected in the first month. An appallingly low figure. Following this, and hundreds of thousands of asthma sufferers, who were promised a jab as they are "at risk", find they are not entitled at all to a jab because this government changed the definition of asthma patients so that asthmatics who use inhalers are not asthmatics. Does this make sense ? Ask the Labour government.

To top things off, the government, it turns out, did not include in GPs' contracts the commitment that they would carry out vaccinations in the case of a pandemic meaning millions of children under the age of five will still not have got a swine flu jab.

According to an expert on the the local news today reporting on "What now for Swine Flu ?", swine flue will be the predominant flu strain for the next few years and he urged under 5s and vulnerable people to have jabs if they are offered. However, what was not mentioned is that annual flu jabs wear off and are not a "for life" vaccine. This means that under fives would need another injection next year. Will they be offered this as part of the annual flu jab programme ? Of course not, because under fives are not given a seasonal flu jab !

Whilst it might seem trivial and swine flu has not killed millions, it underlines that this government did very little right in the outbreak and had it been H5N1 bird flu or another serious flu, we'd all have died and Labour would not have had a clue.

3 comments:

King Athelstan said...

The tamiflu thing was ridiculous, the only way I would have touched the stuff is if I was seriously ill.

doctorhuw said...

"However, what was not mentioned is that annual flu jabs wear off and are not a "for life" vaccine."

I could be wrong, but isn't it rather that the flu virus is so unstable that it mutates regularly and renders the antibodies produced by an old vaccine useless, rather than that the vaccine "wears off?"

I appreciate that's rather a fine distinction, but should swine flu prove to be more stable than the usual one, the vaccine might last longer than a year, making vaccination worthwhile.

In answer to your opening question, almost certainly not, but I still think it a good thing to change governments periodically!

And I and I think just about everybody agrees with you over dear Sir Liam...

Swine Flu said...

More countries continue to off load their swine flu vaccine reserves as the pandemic winds down.

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