Anorak News | A Jab In The Dark

A Jab In The Dark

by | 22nd, November 2005

‘DO not feed the birds. They are out to get you. That beady-eyed pigeon doesn’t just want your kebab – he wants your life.

‘Now count slowly down to the end of the world from ten..’

Run. Don’t walk. Head to your local doctor and demand that you be given the flu jab before you perish like so many mesia finches.

But what’s this? As the Times reports, and as your doctor is telling you, the flu jab is running out. “Britain is facing a serious shortage of flu vaccine.”

Yesterday the Department of Health wrote to every GP to tell them that stocks of the flu vaccine are almost all gone. The 400,000 “contingency doses” are nearly exhausted.

“Vaccine is pretty scarce,” says Dr David Salisbury, head of immunisation at the heath department. Hence the letter asking doctors to ensure that what flu jab stocks remain are only administered to the most high-risk.

And, no, that does not include your pet parrot, your cockatoo nor that delightful robin that stands on your windowsill and cocks its head to own side as if to say, “Hello. I love you.” The needy are the elderly and the infirm.

But why has this happened? Why have half a million more doses of the vaccine been ordered than last year – Dr Salisbury says 14.5million doses have been ordered by GPs.

What has happened since last month when the all-knowing Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, told the Commons: “I am assured by our experts there are adequate supplies available to ensure anybody at risk can be vaccinated.”

But aren’t we all at risk? How is it that some if us are now more at risk than others? What happened?

The Telegraph thinks it knows. It says that the public alarm over bird flu has caused us to panic and demand the flu vaccine.

The paper also hears from Dr Salisbury. Says he: “Undoubtedly many more people than usual have come forward for vaccination because the profile of flu has been raised over the risk of pandemic flu and over avian flu.”

What has bird flu got to do with the other kinds of seasonal flu? As the Independent says, the ‘worried well’ have been demanding the flu jab even though it would be useless against bird flu.

But why tell the truth? Why doesn’t the Government just tell us that the jab will protect us from bird flu, and then just fill the syringe with water?

The pandemic may never arise. If it doesn’t strike, the Government can say it saved the day. If it does, we’ll all be too sick to complain…’

Posted: 22nd, November 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink