“But Are All The New Swine Flu Vaccines Safe”?

In the last week swine flu cases in the UK have almost doubled. A lot of this is down to the fact that children have returned to school and already 66 schools have been hit by the virus since returning after the summer break.

The infections, which were, originally around 5000 have suddenly soared to 9000 according to figures released by the Department of Health in the UK. Sir Liam Donaldson who is the U.K.’s Chief Medical Officer has said that although this number is still relatively low it is the sign that a second wave of the pandemic is on the way.

Pupils at schools throughout the UK are being shown how important it is that they wash their hands and use tissues if they have a cold or a cough or are sneezing. Once used the tissues should be thrown away. Nicholas Torgerson has said that the reason why children must fully understand this is because it has been shown that this dramatically cuts the risk of infection. 

At present the two vaccines which have been approved for use in the UK appear to be causing concern regarding the fact that members of the public are worrying that suitable tests may not have been done to guarantee their safety using these drugs. The two vaccines are Pandemrix and Focentria. The first is made by a British company GlaxoSmithKline and the second by the Swiss company Novartis. Glaxo SmithKline is supplying the UK vaccines. 

The European Medicines Agency who are the regulatory authority have also mentioned Baxter who also have a vaccine which there are hoping to approve next week.

 You may by now be wondering what it means when we say that a drug has been licensed. What this means is that the European medicines agency have firstly satisfied themselves that the drug in question is safe and secondly that it is effective for the purpose for which it is meant. The agency will not get involved in discussing which of the vaccines may be better than the other. Even though these two vaccines have been approved at present it still has to be agreed by the European Commission but this is generally a rubber stamp job and is expected to be agreed next week.

 What worries a lot of people is the fact that these new vaccines have been fast tracked through the system. The reason for this is that medical authorities want urgently to get them to high-risk patients prior to the big surge in swine flu cases which is expected this winter. What actually happens is that the manufacturers of these drugs submit a mockup of the vaccine to the World Health Organization and their experts will have been already working to identify the exact strain which has been causing the swine flu. Once this strain has been recognized they will then be slotted into the model.

 Because it appears to have been rushed through this is the bit that seems to worry the general public but the European Medicines Agency have said that they do not think that a new strain added into the old model will firstly effect the safety of the vaccine or its efficiency. They have however requested the manufacturers of the vaccines to run extra trials. These trials will involve 9000 people per vaccine to ensure that no problems are thrown up.

 In case you are wondering when these vaccines will be available to patients in the UK the Chief Medical Officer has always indicated that this will be in October although health officials at the Department of Health will not confirm any particular date. The one thing that is known is that the first batches of vaccine will be given to vulnerable people such as ones with heart problems asthmatics and people working in the health field.

If you or worried in any way whatsoever for the safety of your family please go across to our main swine flu pages at http://askabouthealth.com/swine-flu.html

Graham Hodgson

Source by Graham J.T. Hodgson

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