Normal flu jabs 'double the risk of catching swine bug'

The findings from Canada led to some states in the country delaying seasonal flu jab campaigns amid fears the recipients could be more vulnerable to a second surge of the pandemic.

The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), an independent advisory group, says the study’s findings have not been substantiated in any other country.

The World Health Organisation has also dismissed them, and separate research suggests seasonal flu jabs might actually protect against swine flu.

Last week, GPs across the UK began their seasonal flu campaign, which aims to protect more than 15million people, including those aged over 65 and those with long-term conditions such as heart disease. 

Many of these people will also be in line for priority vaccination against swine flu, due to start by the end of the month, along with NHS frontline staff.

Health chiefs are concerned that conflicting evidence about protection offered by flu jabs could deter those at risk of serious illness or dying from getting vaccinated.

The Canadian study – led by Dr Danuta Skowronski of the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control and Dr Gaston De Serres of Laval University, Quebec – has not yet been published in a medical journal but was reported in GP newspaper.

However, the Government’s chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson said: ‘Other experts are sceptical about this finding.

‘It is not substantiated by other data worldwide, but it is something we have asked the
JCVI to look at.’

A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘The JCVI has considered the Canadian report suggesting a link between seasonal influenza vaccination and susceptibility to swine flu and has unequivocally discounted its findings.

‘The World Health Organisation has also considered the report and discounted its findings.

‘The WHO’s current view is that no country should change its position on vaccines on the basis of the Canadian study.’ (Daily Mail, 10.14.2009, Jenny Hope)

Read more:

0homefly.gif (8947 bytes)