There is criticism being levelled at the government at the moment for not vaccinating the under 5’s for Flu, and potentially putting them at risk. The argument is that this “cancellation” was done to save cash (approx £85m) and that included not only the jabs but the advertising campaign to go with the vaccination.
I have an issue with criticising the Government for not doing the widespread vaccination. They have taken the advice of the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) which is an independent body and would hopefully be giving politically independent advice. Granted it plays well into the cost saving required, but everyone has to make the most of the breaks they are given. The JVCI had initially said it would be prudent to repeat the Jabs to all kids, but then in July it changed this advice. What is unclear is the basis for the change of advice. But they are the independent expert here. As long as they haven’t been leaned on.
I’m not so sure about axing the advertising campaign though. The Governments answer is that everyone eligible will be or has been contacted. However I think this does need to be backed up with a campaign to ensure that those who are eligible realise the importance of the vaccination. There are many reasons why parents would not take their children, IE fears due the MMR debacle, or just not really being aware of the true dangers of flu, as it is seen as such a common illness. If you just get an envelope saying your eligible, it doesn’t really do much int he way of educating or encouraging.
So, on one hand, I think the targeting of immunisation in this respect is a sensible approach to take given the advice they received. However the Department of Health have said they are going to review this policy due to the rising cases of Flu this winter. With this sort of announcment, it really muddies the waters of whom to believe.
In any case, I do wish they had kept the advertising campaign to enable parents to make an informed decision, rather than what may be a rash decision one way or the other.
In relation to all thing vaccination, I would reccoment you go and see the Edward Jenner Museum in Berkley, Gloucestershire. The House and grounds are really good and shows how vaccines were developed and the full extent of the impact of Vaccination on the world.
- Ditching flu vaccination campaign ‘has put under fives at risk’ (dailymail.co.uk)
- Flu epidemic fears played down (mirror.co.uk)
- Winter flu ‘hits intensive care’ (bbc.co.uk)