[So much for academic intelligence!]
Last updated at 11:32 PM on 14th August 2009
Law firms and other businesses are trying to jump the queue ahead of sick children and pregnant women to get hold of swine flu vaccine, it emerged yesterday.
Plans for mass vaccination to ensure key workers don't get flu this autumn
are under way at some City firms.
Companies will pay for the two-stage vaccine for healthy workers who would not normally qualify, despite warnings there may be insufficient stocks of the vaccine to meet the needs of 'at-risk' groups.
One private doctor, who did not wish to be named, said yesterday: 'Law firms especially are already asking for vaccinations. They cannot afford to have a lot of people off sick.'
It is expected several private health firms will offer the service, including Samedaydoctor, which runs a chain of private clinics in cities such as London and Edinburgh.
Carole Carp, the company's managing director, said: 'We shall certainly be giving the vaccine when it becomes available.'
Even if there is enough vaccine for all the at-risk groups, many would refuse to have it anyway and take their chances of catching the virus.
A poll of 1,000 Britons eligible for vaccination in October found 42 per cent have safety concerns over the jab.
Altogether 27 per cent of those polled by market research site www.OnePoll.com are concerned about the lack of testing the vaccine has had.
More than 62 per cent said they were concerned about long-term effects it may
have that experts aren't yet aware of.
And 46 per cent of parents said they would seriously consider whether to let their children have the jab.
Concerns have already been raised about the drug Tamiflu - one of two
antivirals being used against swine flu - after research indicated that the side
effects in children could far outweigh any benefits.
The first 300,000 doses of vaccine being supplied in the UK by makers GSK and
Baxter will be delivered this month.
The priority groups for vaccination, which is due to start in October, are those aged between six months and 65 years who have health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and asthma.
These people normally qualify for seasonal flu jabs, which they will also receive this winter - making three jabs in all.
Pregnant women will receive swine flu jabs at some stage in their
pregnancy, along with NHS and social care frontline staff, and finally
pensioners in at-risk groups.
More than 13million people in the UK will get protection by December in the first wave of vaccination.
However, both GSK and Baxter have hit production difficulties and the Government admits there are 'uncertainties' about the precise amounts and timing of the deliveries.
Plans for administering the vaccination programme are still being worked out by the Department of Health and the British Medical Association.
It is expected that GPs will play a major role. They already deliver around 15million shots of seasonal flu vaccine to at-risk patients each winter.
But the swine flu programme involves additional individuals who are not normally called up for jabs.
The fee for administering swine flu vaccine has not yet been agreed, although GPs receive £7.51 for each seasonal flu shot.
Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the BMA's GP committee, said: 'Talks with the Government to provide a comprehensive flu vaccination programme remain ongoing and we are hopeful that these discussions will conclude shortly.'Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1206330/Swine-flu-vaccine-rolled-October--11million-vulnerable-first.html#ixzz0Q9tGz2DE