People are right to be sceptical about the swine-flu scare, but it is telling – and worrying – that they focus their scepticism on swine-flu jabs.
Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, Spiked
In the climate of fear that has been promoted around the swine flu pandemic, the mass vaccination campaign getting underway in the UK this week is heading for trouble.
Healthcare workers in contact with patients in hospitals and surgeries have been designated a priority to receive the swine flu vaccine. Yet early soundings reveal a high degree of scepticism that is likely to lead to a substantial rate of refusal – inevitably undermining public confidence in the vaccine.
A poll conducted by the Nursing Times in August suggested that 31 per cent of nurses would reject the swine flu vaccine – a proportion that had increased to 47 per cent by October (1). Over the same period the proportion of nurses indicating that they would have the vaccine declined from over a third to less than a quarter. A propaganda barrage from the health authorities aiming to put moral pressure on National Health Service staff to receive the vaccine seems unlikely to boost uptake significantly. The lack of confidence in the vaccine among nurses and doctors will do little to reassure their anxious patients.
It is unfortunate that legitimate scepticism about the scaremongering around swine flu has come to focus on the vaccine, which is only a slightly modified version of the familiar seasonal flu vaccine.
Reading this article to its conclusion is recommended:
Making a pig’s ear of mass vaccination (1)