Swine flu vaccine  Bribery

[Bribery with more, wasted, taxpayers money.  It would fall flat otherwise. They already pay them for a swine flu diagnosis, see:  'I have been doing locums in lots of different practices . In some Primary Care Trusts, they are remunerating GPs for their extra swine flu work by looking at how many consultations are logged as 'swine flu', so I have been told to enter any cold, upper-respiratory tract infection , fever etc  as swine flu, and some GPs are going back in their patients records since the swine flu started and re-labelling the reason for the consultation.  Is it any wonder there are so many cases?' [2009 Aug] Calling Big Pharma’s Bluff – Swine Flu Misfires in the UK By John Stone.]

From The Times
September 15, 2009

GPs to be paid £100m for giving swine flu jabs to high-risk groups

Sam Lister, Health Editor

Family doctors will be paid more than £100 million to give swine flu vaccines this winter after a deal was brokered with the Government worth £5.25 for every dose.

The agreement with the British Medical Association was reached yesterday after lengthy negotiations over how much GPs will be paid for administering the jabs.

The programme is due to start next month, subject to licensing. More than 13 million people in high-risk groups and the health service will be asked if they want the vaccine. Those in high-risk groups include pregnant women and people with asthma and diabetes. The deal covers vaccine for 11.5 million people, while 2 million health workers will be immunised through their workplaces.

The news comes after research out yesterday revealed that one dose of the swine flu vaccine was enough to protect people against the virus. The results of GlaxoSmithKline’s first trial on its swine flu vaccine, which will be used in Britain, showed that one dose produced a strong immune response.

The Government had planned for each person to receive two doses of the vaccine, because earlier clinical trials showed that a double dose was needed. A spokesman for the Department of Health said yesterday that this could change in light of further clinical trials.

The BMA argued during negotiations that they would need to cover staff and administration costs, as well as possible overtime, but they accepted that they would be getting less than other inoculation rates because swine flu was likely to be a mass vaccination scheme. Doctors receive £7.51 for each seasonal flu dose and for other jabs such as travel vaccines.

The Government has ordered 132 million doses of vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline and another company, Baxter — enough to immunise the entire UK population against swine flu with two doses. It has yet to decide if the campaign will be extended to everyone.

The money for vaccinations will come from the Department of Health budget and will be used for contacting patients, administering the vaccine and, if necessary, taking on extra staff.

Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, said that the deal was great news for patients and good value for money as it would reduce the number of people needing hospital treatment. “We have used this welcome breathing space over the summer to make sure that we are prepared for the forthcoming winter flu-season,” he said. “The vaccine is the best line of defence against this virus and I would strongly urge all of those in the at-risk groups, as well as frontline health and social care workers, to have the vaccine.”

Mr Burnham said that all at-risk groups would be able to receive the vaccine in their own surgery as soon as the European regulators had licensed vaccine.

Laurence Buckman, chairman of the BMA’s GPs committee, welcomed the agreement as the best way to deliver the vaccine to the at-risk population. Doctors have also been given some leeway over their access targets — guaranteeing appointments within 48 hours as well as advanced bookings — if they achieve high immunisation rates.

“This will be a lot of additional work for practices, but general practice is used to running large vaccination programmes,” Dr Buckman said. “We are confident that GPs and their teams will have the resources they need in order to run the swine flu vaccination programme smoothly and efficiently.”

However, the TaxPayers’ Alliance questioned the generosity of the deal, which it said should be considered part of the primary care service. “Once again, the Government have failed the taxpayer by signing up to an extortionate deal with GPs that will pay them a fortune for doing something which is meant to be part of the service anyway,” Matthew Elliott, its chief executive, said.

GlaxoSmithKline said that its vaccine trial results showed one dose can “provide a strong immune response” which exceeds the requirement set down by authorities that will license the vaccine. Its clinical trial, which is taking place in Germany, involves 130 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 60.

More than 98 per cent of the group receiving the vaccine with an adjuvant had an adequate immune response three weeks after receiving their jab. A vaccine adjuvant is a substance that helps boost the immune response to the main virus and strains that may develop out of it.

GlaxoSmithKline is conducting a further 15 studies in more than 9,000 people, including healthy adults, older people and children in Europe, Canada and the US.