Several news stories mainly in British publications show that doctors and nurses in the United Kingdom are openly questioning the efficacy and safety of the Swine Flu vaccine. One such story in the August 17, 2009 issue of the Telegraph, reports on a survey done of British nurses showing that only one-third were willing to have the vaccination.
This article noted that of the nurses who said they would not get vaccinated, 60 per cent said concern about the safety of the vaccine was the main reason. The results were taken from a poll of 1500 nurses of whom 91% said that they were “frontline” healthcare workers who are the people most told they need the vaccine by pro-vaccine efforts. One nurse, echoing what is probably a predominant view, responded to the poll by commenting, “I would not be willing to put myself at risk of, as yet, unknown long-term effects to facilitate a short-term solution.” Another respondent added, “I have yet to be convinced there is a genuine health risk (from swine flu) and it’s not just government propaganda.”
In another article on August 26, 2009 also in the Telegraph, it was reported that up to 50% of all general practitioners do not plan to take the vaccine. Similarly they report that another study published online by the British Medical Journal showed that half of 8,500 healthcare workers in Hong Kong said that they would refuse a swine flu vaccine, because of safety concerns and worries that it would not work very well.
In response some government officials in the UK are exerting pressure on healthcare workers to fall into line on the issue of vaccinations. On the August 17, 2009 Nursing Times.com, website an article appeared that starts by reporting, “The (British) Department of Health’s director of immunization Professor David Salisbury has said nurses have a responsibility to be vaccinated against swine flu.”
Some of the genuine concern may have come from the safety revelation reported on in several news outlets including the August 16, 2009 American Chronicle which ran a story with the title, “Letter Leaked Showing New Swine Flu Jab Linked to Guillain Barre Syndrome.” The US story reports that a UK newspaper has received letters showing a link between the new Swine Flu vaccine and Guillain Barre Syndrome, a serious neurological disease that can cause paralysis and in extreme cases can lead to death. The article reports that on July 29, 2009, “A member of the JCVI Professor Elizabeth Miller and head of the HPA’s Immunisation Department has sent a confidential letter to senior neurologists warning to be on the alert for new cases of GBS (Guillain Barre Syndrome) which she says could be linked to the vaccine.”
With all the confusion, the minimal time for testing and the concern over safety issues many people are planning on passing on the vaccine. Several groups including the National Vaccine information Center, www.nvic.org, in the US have urged caution and are against any attempt to mandate this vaccination to any group of US citizens. Statements and a video can be seen on their website.