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Monday, August 17, 2009

Government mishandling swine flu in England

Last week I published this post about what happened to a friend of mine when she became ill whilst on holiday in England. She is now back home and diagnosed with a viral infection. Her GP told her that if she had taken Tamiflu as recommended by the swine flu helpline then it would have had an adverse impact on her health.

This episode is particularly relevant today in the light of the headline in today's Guardian which records that the government rejected advice from its expert advisers on swine flu, who said there was no need for the widespread use of Tamiflu and suggested that the public should simply be told to take paracetamol:

An independent panel set up by the Department of Health warned ministers that plans to make the stockpiled drug widely available could do more harm than good, by helping the flu virus to develop resistance to the drug.

But ministers pressed ahead with a policy of mass prescription, fearing the public would not tolerate being told that the millions of doses of Tamiflu held by the state could not be used during a pandemic, one of the committee members has told the Guardian.

The paper says that there are now calls for the national helpline to be shut down to stop hundreds of thousands of doses of Tamiflu going out in an unregulated way, which could render it useless when a more dominant strain returns in the autumn.

Experts are arguing that antivirals should only be given to those in high risk categories, like pregnant women or people with existing respiratory illnesses. This is in fact the position in Wales where low risk groups are being advised to go to bed with paracetamol and plenty of fluids.

It is appalling that the UK Government has allowed their own public relations concerns to get the better of them and authorise drugs to be issued by untrained non-medical staff on the end of a telephone hot line on the basis of a tick sheet interrogation. They are just storing up problems for themselves when swine flu returns as a second wave in the winter.

Given the relative number of cases of swine flu compared to previous flu outbreaks it is just ludicrous to argue as the Government has done that the health service is under excessive pressure and that this justifies their present policy.

Meanwhile, there is a less than helpful headline on the front page of this morning's Western Mail which seeks to draw comparisons between an as-yet untested and unlicensed swine flu vaccine and the MMR vaccine. There is a long discussion about risks and disputed warnings but the net effect is to suggest that people should beware being innoculated against N1H1.

Presumably, these warnings would also apply to the annual flu jab that has been administered by doctors for years as well as to a whole host of other vaccines. As Dr Brendan Mason, a consultant epidemiologist at the National Public Health Service for Wales tells the paper "there are downsides to any vaccines – people may suffer an allergic reaction. But the benefits of the vaccine massively outweigh any side effects. The benefit is just huge and anything that undermines confidence worries me.”

I understand that there is a sizeable minority who are suspicious of science but that is no justification to undermine the basis of modern medicine where vaccines have been used successfully for a long time to successfully eradicate a large number of harmful diseases. Personally, I very much regret the way that the media has treated this story, which appears to me to be irresponsible.
How about a all natural alternative to the vaccine, that is clinically proven to be 3X more effective then a vaccine? Viralox is a concentrated Colostrum spray that I have used and it works! Research it you will be glad you did, years from now when they come back with all the side effects that the vaccine has caused.
All the Best, Rick
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