The Secretary of State for Health for the United Kingdom, Andrew Lansley, is a prat. Here’s why:
From The Guardian, January 15, 2011
In the letter to Healey, Lansley responded tersely to Labour ministers who criticised the lack of a national advertising campaign. “We decided not to institute an autumn mass advertising campaign to encourage flu vaccination, because this would have wastefully focused on the entire population when only at-risk groups are being invited for vaccination,” Lansley said.
Only “at-risk groups” are being “invited”, that is to say, allowed, to get a flu vaccine this year. So, who is deemed at risk?
From the Health Protection Agency of the UK:
The CMO’s advice is that you need a seasonal flu vaccination if:
- You are aged 65 years or over
- If you are aged 6 months or over and fall into the following risk group :
1. Chronic respiratory disease, including asthma that requires continuous or repeated use of inhaled or systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission
2. Chronic heart disease
3. Chronic renal disease
4. Chronic liver disease
5. Chronic neurological disease
6. Diabetes requiring insulin or oral hypoglycaemic drugs
So, what Secretary Lansley is saying is that unless you fall into one of the groups listed above, there is no reason for you to know about the flu vaccine. Is this because people who do not fall into these categories are safe from pandemic flu? Actually, no, it’s not. In fact, previously healthy people are at risk of serious disease from pandemic H1N1. How do I know? Because the Health Protection Agency of the United Kingdom says so.
From: Critical care management of adults with influenza with particular reference to H1N1 (2009). Health Protection Agency January 7, 2011.
…up to 50% of adults hospitalised in 2009 were previously healthy…
From: Paediatric practice note for the management of critically ill children with pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Influenza. Health Protection Agency January 7, 2011.
… ~80% of children under 5 years old admitted with H1N1 (2009) influenza had no risk factors.
The policy of witholding information, and vaccine, from the general public in the United Kingdom has resulted in the loss of many lives.
There are many sad stories of people who died as a result of Health Secretary Lansley’s policy. Here is one of them:
From The Telegraph, January 14, 2011
Dr Ameen urged Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, to “think how we feel” and attacked him for refusing children a £6 injection which could save a child’s life even as he castigated himself for dismissing her symptoms as a simple infection.
He said: “As a doctor, I can’t think of any medical reasons not to make it available to young children. The only possible reason can be saving money.
“But I don’t care what their plans to save money are, we’re talking about life and death here.”
He told the Daily Mail: “What can be worse for any parent than to see their three-year-old child killed in just two or three hours and to know that one simple injection could have saved her life?”
Dr Ameen and his wife Gemma, who is a nurse, decided to switch off life support to their daughter just two days after she apparently caught a cold on Christmas Eve.
If Health Secretary Andrew Lansley had a shred of decency, he would apologise unreservedly for the lives his policy has cost and resign. Instead, he issues snarky, dismissive press releases in a futile attempt to hide his blunder.