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Flu vaccine: cautionary tale from the US

DICK BARTON (Letters, September 2) is certainly not the only person to question the stupidity of the Government’s decision to indemnify the manufacturers of the insufficiently tested swine flu vaccine against legal action that may be taken due to its side-effects.

Many parents and nurses are also deeply worried. They are aware that medical insurance providers in other countries have refused to underwrite insurance coverage for those who would be administrating the vaccine because they say “inadequate testing and the possibility of spreading other infections means there is too a high a risk that patients will sue them later”?

In 1976 the US initiated a swine flu vaccination campaign with an untested vaccine and 4,000 people were seriously injured with 25 vaccine-related deaths being reported. The campaign was called off after only 10 weeks because of the high incidence of adverse reactions to the vaccine.

In the end there was one death from the disease itself – the vaccine proved to be more dangerous than swine flu.

Isn’t it time for the Government to take its role seriously and ensure that any vaccines used are properly tested and proven to be safe and effective prior to a licence being issued for their distribution. Anything less would be irresponsible and leave them open to the same criticisms that were aimed at the US in 1976.

They ended up paying $3.5 billion in compensation to the victims of that swine flu vaccination campaign.

Nora Bennis

Revington Park

North Circular Road



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