BBC BLOGS - Fergus's Medical Files
« Previous | Main | Next »

Vaccination gets the green light

Fergus Walsh | 17:42 UK time, Friday, 16 October 2009

The long-awaited UK-wide programme of vaccination against H1N1 swine flu will begin next week.

The first to get immunised will be the most vulnerable people in the population - namely, high-risk patients in hospital (for example, those with leukaemia who have a weakened immune system).

The Chief Medical Officer for England, Sir Liam Donaldson, who is the government's main advisor on tackling the virus, gave further details (for England) at his weekly press briefing.

H1N1 pandemic vaccine: Anticipated delivery schedule: England

As you can see, the GSK vaccine Pandemrix has become the jab of choice for the NHS, despite the government also buying stocks of a second vaccine Celvapan, from another manufacturer, Baxter. This is partly due to production problems with the Baxter vaccine.

Sir Liam Donaldson urged at risk groups, including pregnant women, to get immunised:

"I don't want to see anyone dying of an illness that can be prevented by vaccination. Only this week we have seen two deaths among pregnant women: one in Scotland and another in Wales."
The head of immunisation at the Department of Health, Professor David Salisbury, said those over 10 years of age would need just one dose of Pandemrix vaccine, because clinical trials had shown that it was sufficient to offer good immunity.

Those under 10 will need two jabs, spaced three weeks apart, because their immune systems don't respond as well.

By contrast, anyone who has Celvapan will require two doses. Professor Salisbury said he specifically wanted pregnant women to have the GSK jab, because it meant they would be protected quicker. He said:

"If a pregnant woman has an interval of three weeks to wait for immunity to kick in, that could put the pregnancy at risk, so it is seriously beneficial for them to be protected after one dose of Pandemrix."
Professor Salisbury pointed out that both vaccines had been licensed and were safe. The Baxter vaccine, which is not made using eggs, would be used for those who have a rare egg allergy. The key difference between the two vaccines is that Pandemrix has an adjuvant, or booster chemical, which is designed to boost the body's immune response.

Adjuvanted flu vaccines have been around for at least a decade, but there is not nearly the same degree of clinical data as with unadjuvanted flu jabs.

Because of the lack of clinical data, the WHO suggested in July [267KB PDF] that swine flu vaccines without adjuvants, should be used in pregnant women, where possible.

This suggestion came from the influential Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (Sage). That would have meant Celvapan being used, not Pandemrix.

But Professor Salisbury, who chairs Sage as well as being the head of immunisation at the Health Department, indicated that this advice was now out of date.

"It was made before the GSK vaccine was licensed and based on what we knew at the time. The regulators were able to look at studies involving pregnancy in animals and at other clinical data."
SAGE meets in two weeks and is expected to revise its earlier guidance. So what should pregnant women do?

The clear advice is that those who are pregnant should be immunised because they are at considerably higher risk, as a result of the body's natural suppression of the immune system.

The further along the pregnancy, the greater the risk to the mother and her unborn child. Earlier this week, a pregnant teenager in Scotland died after contracting swine flu, leading to the death of her unborn child. Recently, a new mother in Wales died two weeks after giving birth following infection with the virus.

Many will want to find out as much information as possible about Pandemrix before agreeing to be immunised. There have been clinical trials - including data published today.

To date, 2,000 people have received the jab. None of those was pregnant because ethical committees will not usually allow pregnant women to take part in trials.

So what is in the adjuvant, known as AS03, found in the GSK jab? The key ingredient is something called squalene, which is derived from fish oil. The World Health Organization has an explanatory note on this.

Squalene has been used in flu vaccines before, as the WHO makes clear:

"22 million doses of Chiron's influenza vaccine (FLUAD) have been administered safely since 1997. This vaccine contains about 10mg of squalene per dose. No severe adverse events have been associated with the vaccine."

GSK has a briefing note on its H1N1 swine flu vaccine.

Comments

or register to comment.

  • 1. At 6:53pm on 16 Oct 2009, drakeduck wrote:

    Fergus, I think things are not as well-organised as you suggest. As I understand it, every GP practice in England will get a box of 500 doses of vaccine for the priority groups. There are somewhere over 8000 GP practices in England, so this chimes with your 4.4 million figure. (4.4 million is a bit smaller than the number of people in priority groups you stated in your blog on 18 September, but let's put that aside). My own GP confirms that they will receive 500 doses.

    But GP practices vary in size -- a lot! For some, 500 doses will be way more than needed; for others, not enough. I am with a big practice, with over 12000 patients. So, although I'm in the at-risk group, and recently received the seasonal flu jab, I have been told that there will not be enough swine flu vaccine for me to get it. If only I had registered with a smaller practice I would not have been left exposed.

    It's so distressing when bureaucratic inflexibility, such as sending a fixed number of doses to every practice, leaves patients at needless risk. When can I expect the government to wise up and deliver enough vaccine to the big GP practices, which need it?

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 8:26pm on 16 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    My GP says that it looks as though take-up is going to be very low, so he expects that there will be enough to go around and then some pretty quickly. My dad has the seasonal flu jab and is very definitely 'at risk' but he's declining the sf jab, which is entirely his choice as far as I'm concerned. It would be a different thing were there enough vaccine to create herd immunity, then to turn it down may seem irresponsible, but the fact is that people going about their daily lives are going to come into contact with sf, especially if they ever see children, even if only on the bus. My GP's verdict is it is essential for pregnant women, btw.

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 8:29pm on 16 Oct 2009, CComment wrote:

    If healthcare professionals won't take the injection, why should the rest of us ? Caledonian Comment

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 9:12pm on 16 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    My GP is having the jab, on the basis that he has the seasonal flu jab anyway and IHO the sf one isn't any different.

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 11:57pm on 16 Oct 2009, Jen wrote:

    Well done Fergus! Thank you for clarifying the info I posted a couple of days ago re Pandemrix and Pregnant women. I guess the link in my post was removed because of the need for pregnant women to get a vaccination. I'm glad I'm past that stage in my life now-what a difficult decision this will be for soon to be Mums and Dads. That poor 17 year old mum-so very sad-she was double whammied-the most at risk group and pregnant-barely more than a child herself with her whole life ahead of her. Her family must be torn to pieces by this.

    Btw-the other link on that post was basic helpful info re symptoms of worsening SF with an emphasis on seeking medical assistance quickly because deterioration can be breathtakingly rapid. Surely this would be good for most people to know?

    It seems the roll out order has changed-it seems more refined somehow. Health care workers and health and social care workers seem to be split-is this separation between hospital workers and non-hospital workers? It's good that the sickest people in hospital are to be vaccinated first though.

    I do, however, have concerns about this adjuvant business for pregnant women. Is it really wise to jump in before the guidance has been revised? Easy for me to say, but what a stressful dilemma for those who are pregnant.

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 00:42am on 17 Oct 2009, SShark32 wrote:

    Thanks - as usual, the right information presented in a way that's easily understood.

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 01:17am on 17 Oct 2009, flyingqwertyiop wrote:

    I have to echo the first posters comments. My practice is comfortably the largest in my area. It has over 12,000 patients, and according to my GP nearly 3,000 of these are in the priority groups. It seems ridiculous that the NHS plans to distribute 500 doses to every practice, irregardless of size. Since Fergus presumably has senior contacts in the NHS, perhaps he could pass on our concerns.

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 06:55am on 17 Oct 2009, nick-ynysmon wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 9. At 08:07am on 17 Oct 2009, nick-ynysmon wrote:

    May I also say how very valuable Fergus blog and column is, a real trove of up to date information. I would advise anyone to read what he has to say. My comments may seem very acerbic in the extreme, which I apologize for, but after all the objective data is delivered by such as Fergus, one has to look at the deeper issues, why the rush to vaccinate when the virus is only the same virulence as seasonal flu? if it is like seasonal flu, why not stick to vaccinating the more vulnerable, and for the rest tell them to boost their immune systems, a healthy diet, fresh air, vitamins. To me this is common sense, which I am doing right now.
    which asks why is seasonal flu not treated the same as swine flu ? There are far far too many inconsistencies, how this whole thing has developed and the literature on the adjuvents make very disturbing reading.
    I was only brought to my present thinking by the apparent planned nature of this whole thing has been. Again far too many coincidences, and as though a schedule is being enacted.
    So, for me, NO flu shot or tamuiflu. Under any circumstances at all. unless it mutates......

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 09:43am on 17 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Very sobering stats from the US today re child deaths. My GP says he is still seeing sf as a very mild illness, if sometimes unpleasant. So why the child deaths in the US? Could it be that their lack of free health care has played a part? I don't like the fact that sf has already killed more children than in a usual seasonal flu season, everything was pointing towards fewer deaths with the death rate stats looking very encouraging, so why the change? Is it mutating in some way? I am now very, very worried, especially as children in this country won't get the vaccine as a priority, whereas in the US they will.

    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 10:52am on 17 Oct 2009, flyingqwertyiop wrote:

    As the father of an asthmatic 11-month old boy, I'm also very worried, Given my son's age he should be one of the first to be vaccinated, but my GP still has no idea when he'll receive his initial 500 doses. The vaccination will be distributed to practices on a 3-4 week rollover, which means some practices won't receive anything until late November.

    As an aside, my father has worked in an administrative capacity for the NHS for nearly 10 years and in that time has NEVER had any patient contact. He's apparently been offered the vaccination next week, along with numerous other administration staff, none of whom deal directly with patients. I'm 100% in support of vaccinating all front-line medical staff, but think it's unfair if everyone in the NHS is given priority.

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 11:11am on 17 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Flying, I can understand your worries, I hope your son gets his jab soon. Re the NHS support staff, it is difficult as when I took my boy for his ENT appt. recently the dept. was in chaos because of high absenteeism amongst the support staff. But it must be possible to vaccinate enough key workers without everyone getting a jab. The NHS is vast and overstaffed but imagine if there aren't enough cleaners at work to keep the wards and surgeries clean. That said, I suspect that many NHS workers will have had sf already, and by the sounds of it a lot will be declining the jab so there should be supplies being moved out to surgeries from that, unless the NHS just sits on them.

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 11:21am on 17 Oct 2009, drakeduck wrote:

    "unless the NHS just sits on them"

    Do we know whether large GP practices will be sent *any* additional vaccines after their first box of 500 doses? My practice have only been told about the first 500, and are not currently expecting any more after that.

    I take the point that uptake may be low, but it will take forever for the practice to write to the first 500 patients, wait long enough for all replies to come in (especially if we have postal strikes), decide that the no-replies aren't interested, then write to the next few hundred, wait for them to reply, etc.

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 1:05pm on 17 Oct 2009, flyingqwertyiop wrote:

    drakeduck - The letter sent to all GP's by Sir Liam Donaldson refers to an initial box of 500 doses. They will be able to order more as it becomes available.

    Here's a link to Sir Liam's letter:

    http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/@dh/@en/documents/digitalasset/dh_107190.pdf

    There's also a lot of information under the 'clinical information and guidance' section of the Department of Health's swine flu pages:

    http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publichealth/Flu/Swineflu/index.htm

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 1:07pm on 17 Oct 2009, flyingqwertyiop wrote:

    Sorry I don't think the previous link will work, try this:

    http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publichealth/Flu/Swineflu/InformationandGuidance/index.htm

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 1:20pm on 17 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Assuming the NHS has vaccine for its workers now I think that there will be a surplus pretty quickly, because surveys are indicating that take-up will be low; the NHS staff take-up for the seasonal flu vaccine is also low. So the question is, what are the NHS going to do with the unused vaccines that have been earmarked for their own staff but aren't being used? Will they be sent out to GPs asap or will they hold onto them in case the situation worsens and their staff change their minds?

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 1:22pm on 17 Oct 2009, drakeduck wrote:

    Thanks flyingqwertyiop, that's very helpful. My practice hadn't received the letter when I talked to them. Let's hope it runs smoothly.

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 5:14pm on 17 Oct 2009, WasitovertheLine wrote:

    Here is some latest news from the USA ...

    "Amid growing discontent among New York health care workers who are being forced to receive swine flu vaccine injections, the Public Employees Federation sued in state court to halt the mandate. Friday, a state Supreme Court judge issued a restraining order granting a temporary halt to the mandate until a subsequent hearing can be completed.
    The lawsuit was brought by the Public Employees Federation, New York State United Teachers and four Albany nurses. Until today, these workers were required to be vaccinated by November 30th or many were told they would be fired from their jobs. Others were told pay increases would be suspended. Across the board, there was a campaign of intimidation against NY health care workers to force them into receiving the swine flu vaccine injections.
    With this court order, mandatory vaccines are temporarily suspended pending a follow-up court hearing on October 30.

    New York sets the tone for the H1N1 vaccine debate nationwide
    New York has been an epicenter of health choice protests and demonstrations by concerned health care workers. Over 500,000 workers are affected by the H1N1 vaccine mandate, and a majority of those workers simply don't wish to be vaccinated against their will -- or, perhaps, vaccinated at all.

    If New York health authorities thought they could just bully half a million health care workers into being injected with a virtually untested, unproven vaccine, they were gravely mistaken. Resistance to the vaccine mandate continues to build .... In fact, attempts at forcing the swine flu vaccine onto health care workers appear to have backfired for the vaccine industry, causing many people to question the evidence behind all seasonal flu vaccines.
    What began as the vaccine industry's attempt to force its medicines on virtually everyone has caused intelligent people across the country and around the world to start asking some tough questions about vaccines.
    A recent poll conducted by Harvard University indicates that only 40 percent of adults plan to take the swine flu vaccine. Public support for the vaccine is rapidly evaporating".

    I am not talking here of anyone with family of friends suffering with immune disorders or bronchial complaints that could be complicated by ANY flu or similar infection ...... But how can anyone be forced to take a vaccine at pain of losing their jobs .. or facing pay cuts .. That is a criminal action!!

    One thing that is never mentioned is how many deaths are currently resulting from complications caused by Normal flu in comparison to those caused by Swine flu .. I believe they number in their 1000's every year but we have never seen this hysteria.
    Also there are many studies out there that show that Squalene is a significant contributory factor to many ailments .. They are all just dismissed as "coincidence ,,, just google Squalene and Thimerosol ..

    I will be taking 1000iu of Vitamin D3 and drinking Una de Gato tea every day .. let's meet up here after the winter and compare our swine flu stories ..
    Good health to all ..

    Complain about this comment

  • 19. At 5:15pm on 17 Oct 2009, RevK wrote:

    flyingqwertyiop - it sounds great to say that the PCT can order more when available, but that assumes large quantities are available quickly. A practice I know has been told to expect the 500 doses for 11,000 patients ie initial supply is for 250 patients (2 dose/patient)which is 2.3% of list size, but if the GPs in the rest of the country also ask their PCTs for follow up supplies- and it is going to take 3 to 4 weeks to distribute the initial 500 per practice- how long will it take to receive the follow up & will the system be in place to distribute as required? The answer is surely in terms of months.

    As I understand it a computer algorithim is generating a list of each patient's priority. so that it will not be the flu clinic system we are used to but an individual invite. Where the individual decides not to take the jab a new individual will be identified as the next in line.

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 7:18pm on 17 Oct 2009, glippoman wrote:

    There should be no mandate for those who dont want the vaccine to have it, but we are still in the early stage of this unpredictable pandemic. So if there's enough vaccine to go round after the takeup from the priority groups, why will it then not be offered to all who want it ? (as in Canada) - particularly schoolchildren where the transmission is quickest?
    Also why not have flu clinics - it sounds as though the individual invite system will take forever? Looks like more fudge...

    Complain about this comment

  • 21. At 8:45pm on 17 Oct 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    Angel, try not to worry too much. I agree that the numbers in the USA re the children are high, but the sheer numbers of people who will have contracted the flu will be massive and in comparison the mortality rate still small.

    I remember at the beginning of the pandemic, the US Govt said they didnt care if people could pay for healthcare or not, that they should bring any sick child in for attention, regardless of their immigration status etc. I wonder if that is still the case.

    Some parts of America are so poverty stricken, its like the third world. Maybe a lot of the deaths are from areas like this, maybe not.
    Its very sad regardless.

    Complain about this comment

  • 22. At 9:10pm on 17 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Thanks, Tinkerbell, that is a wise post. I still think the probability is that my children have had sf but they haven't had the definitive symptoms. But it is the bigger picture that bothers me, not necessarily my children but children in general, you know, our society's children. I know that in the States the numbers of infections will be astronomical, so in that sense the death rate is probably quite low; it is the number of deaths in comparison to seasonal flu that bothers me, unless it is usual practice in the US for most people, including children, to get the seasonal flu vaccine routinely and so keep the death rate down.

    I suspect that many people in the US who are there illegally or who have no health insurance would still be too frightened to seek help, at least until it is too late. Such a shame.

    Think we need Skyline to crunch some numbers, but I guess he is off doing something exciting somewhere.:-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 23. At 11:25pm on 17 Oct 2009, SkylineOnFire wrote:

    OKAY! Sorry i havent posted in quite a while, i've been filming abroad for the past few weeks.

    First off, the US child mortality rate is... Well its to be expected. Swine flu is technically 7.5 times less virulent than seasonal flu. But we are seeing... millions more cases worldwide than we do normally in seasonal flu. The US probably gets around 30 million seasonal flu cases a year. With swine flu its probably already around 60 million. Thats based on the fact 50 percent of all cases are symptom free, 25 percent of cases are so mild you wont even realize you have a cold let alone the flu. And 25 percent of all cases are... Basically seasonal flu with less chance of death. The US has such a high, disgustingly high obesity level, its normal. And they dont make an issue over obesity like we do. Its not classed as an underlying health condition. So when you see on the news that US children died from swine flu, with no underlying health conditions, more often than not the kid was very very overweight. Its just not mentioned since its, a way of life in the US. Couple the gargantuan levels of obesity, with the huge increase in cases, and add to that the sub standard healthcare, where i know people personally who havent been to the doctors with flu like symptoms because they dont want to pay the 300 dollars it costs to get an appointment and get a course of tamiflu. Then... Its to be expected.

    The virus has zero mutations, its just not going to mutate. Test after test shows it doesnt cooperate, it overpowers. What would it want to mutate for? Its already the perfect virus as far as evolution goes. Remember, a virus that kills is a useless virus.

    As for vaccines, its a slow process to get the batches out. Give it time. The uptake is going to be so terrible because of idiotic people with zero medical or scientific knowledge whatsoever, have been spouting absolute garbage about the vaccine, its scared the, sorry to say, incredibly naive and gullible population to think its somehow a negative. Oh well, its their loss not mine. Honestly, within a month anyone who wants a shot will get one i think, purely because there is so little demand for it.

    I especially love the idiots who get the seasonal shot then say "OMGOMG im not having the swineflu shot its not tested omg" Its the same shot..... i mean... really. And these nurses and random ambulance drivers who with all respect, dont know a damn thing about influenza other than its a virus, let alone know about vaccines, trying to pose as "medical experts" spouting their right wing "alex jones" garbage, need to get the hell out of chatrooms, forums etc... They are going to be responsible for tens, hundreds of deaths this winter in the UK. Mark my words.



    My Current Guestimate, for the amount of cases in the UK so far? Im putting the figure at anywhere between 5 million and 10 million cases. Anyone who has been here long enough will know i base that off quite a few things, and it isnt just some figure i plucked from the air. Any questions etc?

    Hope everyone is good. And please please for the love of god, dont buy colloidal silver. Its just... The biggest scam, and really bugs me how a good 5 percent of the US population swear by a complete placebo.

    There is ZERO medical or scientific proof that silver is effective at curing anything whatsoever, it isnt an essential mineral, it isnt a dietary reqirement and there is no such thing as silver "defficiency". Oh and ingesting it regularly is likely to cause argyria, a nasty condition that turns your skin a dark blue/grey.

    Its often touted as a miracle cure for everything from cancer to flu, its just pathetic money making garbage that is more likely to harm you than cure you.

    And sorry for any spelling mistakes etc... Just got off a flight from the US, pretty lagged.

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 00:30am on 18 Oct 2009, friendlynorthernlad wrote:

    SkylineOnFire. Did you not know that between 40-50% of medical drugs are completely useless. As for Colloidal Silver, I would not promote as an alternative but its worth pointing out that silver is highly poisonous to bacteria and viruses but silver in the correct dilution is harmless to humans. Many of our modern medicines have evolved from the active health constituents of plants which have been understood for thousands of years. This is called herbalism which you might call quackery and placebo. Use the same ingredients albeit synthesized and it become scientific and acceptable. By the way an age old remedy for kitchen surfaces which kills 99.9% of all known germs including flu virus is - white spirit vinegar! Its cheap, safe and you can stick it on your fish and chips!

    Complain about this comment

  • 25. At 01:02am on 18 Oct 2009, SkylineOnFire wrote:

    friendlynorthernlad, did you know 80 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.... My point exactly.

    I'd like to see your source, i have a feeling it will be pretty amusing. So just let me know where i can find it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 02:41am on 18 Oct 2009, dmmt23 wrote:

    SkylineOnFire wrote:
    "First off, the US child mortality rate is... Well its to be expected."
    The US generally doesn't see more than 150 pediatric influenza deaths in a season. More than 80 before the beginning of a season isn't normal.
    "But we are seeing... millions more cases worldwide than we do normally in seasonal flu."
    I can't find any report of more than one million cases worldwide. I think you're exaggerating.
    "The US probably gets around 30 million seasonal flu cases a year. With swine flu its probably already around 60 million. Thats based on the fact 50 percent of all cases are symptom free, 25 percent of cases are so mild you wont even realize you have a cold let alone the flu."
    That's hardly a reasonable basis for how many infections there probably are. It's not that simple.
    "The virus has zero mutations, its just not going to mutate."
    Flu viruses constantly mutate. You're not likely to find two completely identical genomes. I think you mean that this one won't change significantly for the worst. Virologists aren't sure.
    "What would it want to mutate for? Its already the perfect virus as far as evolution goes."
    Even if it was perfect (which it most definitely isn't) by reacting to a viral threat we can make conditions less than perfect for it. This provides selection pressure. This is ignoring many more complicated factors.
    "Remember, a virus that kills is a useless virus."
    Only if it then fails to spread. The fact that we do have plenty of lethal viruses kind of contradicts that.

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 05:35am on 18 Oct 2009, nick-ynysmon wrote:

    May I add one more comment in summation I think of the above, highly intelligent postings, may I say.

    I believe, what it all comes down to is this.
    If the swine flu is only as bad as seasonal flu, why not treat it the same. Why make so much fuss over something that is no worse than what we get each year as a rule.
    Also, if for a the sake of a few days illness, assuming we get any kind of flue, surely it makes far more sense to let the body cure itself. I have not had flu in twenty years or more I believe.

    Nature has done this for millions of years.
    Then, why take something that by its nature, (a vaccine or tamiflu,) is a poison and unnatural to the body? If the body can cope under normal circumstances is it not better to boost the bodies own defenses, take more vitamins, especially vitamin d3 and c

    Then all we need to do is make some vaccines available for the vulnerable. which is less then a fifth of the population I believe,
    And, instead of trying to vaccinate everyone else, educate them into the above eat a healthy diet, plenty of fruit and vege, again, take vitamin d3 and c tablets, and simple personal hygiene. The latter is very important in this respect. And , if we have any kind of flu, show courtesy to others, and stay away, from them.
    Seeing as the world governments are not going down this common sense route, is it to be wondered so many such as I, suspect/wonder if something altogether darker is slowly being enacted. I do hope I am totally wrong. We all do.

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 08:56am on 18 Oct 2009, WasitovertheLine wrote:

    It's such a shame that some posters here such have to pour scorn on other people's points of view and accuse them of being stuck on conspiracy sites .. . Personally I quite agree with a lot of Mike Adams' reports .. Have you looked at the points he makes concerning the lack of testing for the swine Flu vaccine. Also the limit for mercury being added to vaccines has conveniently been waived for this particular vaccine.
    Dr Mercola is another qualified doctor and alternative health campaigner who gives out good advice .. and I might point out has at least as much back up as the testing done on the swine flu vaccine.

    Also there was a report in the Daily Mail not so long ago that half of British GP's will refuse to have this vaccine due to their own concerns over it's lack of testing. No conspiracies here .. simply mainstream reporting on actual events ..

    I am not against vaccines .. but this particular one sets off too many alarm bells. However each to their own .. and I totally agree with the points made about the FDA trying to destroy alternative medicine to safeguard their own profits .. It is a crime .. nothing more and nothing less! No conspiracy there either eh?

    Complain about this comment

  • 29. At 09:53am on 18 Oct 2009, universalmum wrote:

    As a parent, I'm anxious about the risk to my 5 year old child and the fact that I have to make the decisions about her health based on the best information available to me. It is so difficult to get reliable information which would help inform this decision: should I push for her to be included in a vulnerable group and get vaccinated against sf because

    1)she has a tendency to suffer from lingering coughs (still has the vestiges of one now from a cold she had 2 weeks ago).
    2)she had a very bad chest infection following malaria when she was just under a year old
    3) she is (according to everything you read about sf) in one of the higher risk age groups.

    Those are facts which worry me, given the way in which it has been documented that sf kills.

    On the other hand, "it is a mild illness for most", "chances of it being extremely serious are very low" "tends to be more serious for those with underlying conditions", "no more deadly than seasonal flu" (these are distillations of quotes from various postings here and by Fergus).

    Can anyone help me with the answers to these questions:

    1) Apart from seeing my GP, (I have an appt booked for Friday) how can I get her chest/lung vulnerability assessed?
    2) Are there any hard statistics to enable me to make a rational risk evaluation?
    3) Where are cases occurring more in the UK?
    4) Is her immunity better boosted by the products she is already taking: elderberry extract, Haliborange multivitamins, manuka honey, and healthy diet?

    One thought on viruses killing people: the virus's drive is to survive, it wants to replicate and be a successful organism. What kills is the host's inability to fight it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 30. At 10:12am on 18 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    The reason that sf is being treated differently to seasonal flu is that it is a pandemic. When it was first identified a plan swung into place that had been prepared for avian flu, including the flu line, dishing out tamiflu and ordering enough vaccine for 50-100% of the population. So far it would appear that this has been an over-reaction (except for vaccinating the vulnerable), and it is by no means certain that the vaccination programme will be rolled out to the healthy population even when the vaccines have been delivered. I think there has been a mix of opportunistic spin which has attempted to get us to rely upon the state to 'save' us, coupled with a rigidity is sticking to the 'pandemic flu plan' that was devised for something totally different, when we really would need to do what we were told in order to survive. So in that sense it is state-managed, and is why it appears to stink.

    Herbal medicine (better called phytomedicine) is highly effective as a preventative and anyone using the 'eating fruit and veg' approach is using plant-based medicine. As I've already said before, it's not difficult to think of at least four major drugs that are given to millions if not billions that are or were plant-derived (quinine, aspirin, digitalin, morphine). It's no longer profitable for the pharmaceutical companies to research phytomedicine because they cannot patent the life form that it derives from, unless they genetically engineer it. So rather than dig deep into this largely untapped resource, and risk blowing their profits by proving the efficacy of phytomedicine, it is being regulated out of existence for the sake of big business.

    However, I would not take large doses of vitamins, we were not designed for this any more than we were designed for being jabbed with mercury and there is a lot of doubt over the safety of even something as benign as vit c. Drink extra OJ, eat kiwi and blueberries, it is far safer, and take a good multivit that is within the RDA. And if you need a jab, or antibiotics, or chemo, or anything else that your life may throw at you, then for goodness' sake, have it!

    Don't underestimate the power of fresh air, either.

    Skyline, thank you so much, FWIW I do agree with you re sf stats, I think that although the peak in July for the UK was wildly inaccurate I also think it is largely under-reported - here there are kids off sick with 'viruses' involving temps, cold symptoms and stomach upsets but no-one is mentioning sf; I don't know if people are in denial or if the symptoms appear to be too mild to be flu. Maybe some is sf, some isn't, who knows? My GP definitely is seeing cases that are milder than seasonal flu.

    But re the child death rate in the US...I agree re obesity, and it is apparent from Canada that other countries are reporting 'healthy' deaths in people we'd regard as 'at risk'. And I agree re the healthcare system. But I still don't see why the death rate is so much higher than for seasonal flu when all the signs were that this was more benign than seasonal flu, at least for most people.

    Hope you had a good trip.:-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 31. At 10:29am on 18 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Universalmum, on the previous topic there was some discussion about keeping the air moist, it is invaluable for most coughs and apparently sf likes dry air. I use damp towels over the radiators in my childrens' rooms, you can add essential oils like eucalyptus and ravensara which are safe for children and do have antibacterial properties. Might be another line of defence for you until you sort out about a vaccine.

    If your daughter is at risk then she may well qualify for the jab now. You are going to get conflicting advice about the flu jab here from those who are in favour and those who think you should stick to alternatives. If your daughter really is that much at risk then you have to weigh up the risks for her, but really only you can decide. Do you give her other vaccinations?

    Complain about this comment

  • 32. At 12:11pm on 18 Oct 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #3. CaledonianComment wrote:

    "If healthcare professionals won't take the injection, why should the rest of us ? "

    On that basis why stop smoking or binge drinking etc. etc. 'Healthcare professionals' are not some sub-species that do things properly they do, like the rest of use, get most things wrong! Not that they are all chain smoking, pill popping, overweight, alcoholics, but like the rest of us, some are!

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 1:20pm on 18 Oct 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    I dont agree with mandatory vaccinations and I can completely understand why people might want to refuse the vaccine - however, when you are a frontline health care worker, I think you have to be a little bit more reasonable when it comes to this jab.

    I know that people with underlying health conditions will be vaccinated, but not all vulnerable people will. Are all newborn babies going to be vaccinated? Are premature babies in special care going to be vaccinated? The elderly certainly arent a priority, so how would you feel about a health care worker attending to your loved one, if neither of them are protected?

    In my job we are told to see our GP and get vaccinated for Hep B as due to the kind of people we work with, there is a risk to ourselves. I cant see any difference in the NHS requesting that staff are vaccinated against SF. I personally dont think that the NHS staff are refusing it for any political/health reason, it is well known that the take up rate for seasonal flu jab is low, and a lot of them questioned say they just dont have the time.

    I think during the winter months people will start to realise why it is so important that health care workers are vaccinated, especially when they have a loved one who is ill and there will be no assistance due to people being off sick. When I rang NHS direct the other night for my daughter, it took what felt like an age to get through, as they were so busy. If high sickness in the NHS is expected, then who will be looking after you?

    They had vaccinations in the 50's when the asian flu arrived and it saved a lot of lives. Why is it so different today?


    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 1:53pm on 18 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Tinkerbell, I agree with you 100%. I have a friend who works in frontline A&E, they deliberately left of their mask so that they caught sf to 'get it out of the way before it mutates'. Interesting about lack of time, my GP is of the opinion he doesn't have the time to get sick.

    During July we tried to ring NHS Direct and got a message telling is that there was an hour wait to speak to someone. We were on holiday and ended up ringing our home GP's out of hours service for advice.

    I can't speak for NHS staff but when it comes to the general population, we no longer respect or trust authority - doctors and politicians alike - as people did in the 50's. Indeed, some horrific stories have come to light about people being used in chemical experiments around that time, because people believed what they were told about the nature of what was being given to them. Add to that the fact that there are companies and individuals set to make a mint out of vaccines and anti-virals, some of whom have very dubious track records, and it becomes even less surprisng. Then if you chuck in the rise of the interent, the conspiracy theorists, the comparitive mildness of sf and the MMR controversy and it's not really surprising at all that people are wary of the jab, however reasonable or unreasonable their objections may be.

    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 1:56pm on 18 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    That shoudl be internet, obviously. My fingers can never keep up with my brain!

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 2:00pm on 18 Oct 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    Can I just add aswell that I tend to agree with Skyline on the numbers. Obviously I dont know what the real situation is but I can tell you that locally, I think there are a lot of cases that are going unrecognised.

    My daughter started off feeling ill with a cough, which I thought nothing of as everyone at her school is coughing away. (My youngest had the same cough and a headache, I thought the headache had been caused by the coughing.) Then when she (my eldest daughter) got a temperature I knew it might be something more as she hasnt had a temperature for a good couple of years. Then when NHS direct said it may be SF, it made me wonder about all the other kids I knew locally who have been ill with the same thing. I would guess that children are only really kept at home when they are suffering more than the average cough/sniffle and even then, GP's arent really being called unless the parents are likely to worry that their children have SF. My daughters friend was taken to the Dr but diagnosed with a virus despite her having every single symptom on the list bar difficulty breathing.

    I dont know if its because I am aware/worried about SF but everywhere I go I can hear coughing and even on yahoo the other day I saw someone had posted a question about this awful cough going around. People had posted from all over the country and the USA to say that it was the same where they lived.

    I expect only the more serious illness is getting documented rather than the normal cold symptoms doing the rounds.

    On the flip side of course, it could just be an average cough/cold and the numbers are being overestimated, but I doubt it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 37. At 2:12pm on 18 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Again, I agree with you. I saw my GP on Friday and he said that he thinks it is entirely possible that we had sf in the house although we didn't tick every symptom box, but the locum I saw at the start of the week stuck to 'a viral infection with stomach and respiratory symptoms'. Only one person has asked me outright if my kids had sf when they were off for a week, and if I mention it it's like I've pointed out the elephant in the room, most people clearly do not want to go there. It is impossible that no-one is getting sf locally, so either people aren't talking about it, it is so mild that it is undetected, or people are labelling it as something else. I kept my children off mainly because they looked so pale, but they weren't drastically ill and I know that many parents would have sent their children to school with a dose of Calpol. In fact, our school has just sent home a letter explaining the circumstances in which they will give out antibiotics and calpol because they are getting so many requests to do so.

    Complain about this comment

  • 38. At 4:27pm on 18 Oct 2009, nick-ynysmon wrote:

    reference; angelscomeinthrees

    first, vitamin D3 is now classed more as a hormone, not a vitamin as such. second, it is manufactured in the skin, by the action of melatonin, and sunlight, then if we have 'too much ' sunlight, are we overdosing on vitamin d3 ? surely not.
    Yet this vitamin/hormone, is responsible for immune responses and also the uptake of calcium amongst other things in the body. Next point, it is believed the safe maximum dose is around 2500 IU a day, I will be taking 1400 IU a day there about from this week onwards.
    All we are doing is taking doses of natures own medicines. taking too much is silly and dangerous, but keeping in safe limits, is wise.
    Is it not better to let nature cure herself, than inject poisons into us, such as ethyl mercury, aluminium hydroxide, squaline, etc, all part of the vaccine. And where these are not used we are still injecting a foreign virus into us, albeit weakened.
    And if this swine flu is only as potent as seasonla flu, again, why not lump them both together, and only treat those who are vulnerable.
    The rest of us, who are healthy, take vitamin D3, and let nature effect her own cure. We have done this for seasonal flu for decades, so why be different now?
    It makes
    absolutely no sense save to boost the profits of drug companies, and make politicians happier at being seen to do something.
    And then who can say what the Bilderburgers, the Illuminati, Trilateral commission etc. are planning? What is their thinking behind all this??
    I suggest listening to Jordan Maxwell, on youtube, and Jane Burgermeister. With this vaccine suddenly being thrust upon us, there is no smoke unless some fire lies behind it. I suggest the planning of all this happened a long long time ago, do your own research on this.
    Most of what we see and hear on television and the media is only the thin shell of a very deep ocean of truth that is kept from the majority of us. And as they say, this truth is hidden in open view, if only we are able to decode it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 39. At 6:31pm on 18 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Nick, there is a huge amount of debate around what is a safe limit for vit d and basically is isn't known what that limit is, but it is known that too much can cause symptoms from hypertension to renal failure. Of course you can't overdose on natural sunlight, but supplementation at high level is emphatically not 'natural', we were never designed for it. Better by far to spend lots of time outdoors getting the vitd you need in the way nature intended - without wearing sunscreen, but then that is a whole other debate. Increasing the things that nature gives us makes sense, but in the forms that nature intended us to have it - food, fluid, sunlight, fresh air and rest. For the vast majority of healthy people this will be enough, but for some who have underlying health problems it won't be, and as unlikely as it sounds they will be better off having a jab with all those horrendous ingredients in it. I was unlucky enough to get some horrific flu-type bug when I was 7 months pg and ended up on a drip in hospital, in fact I ended up spending the end of my pregnancy there because I was so run-down after the virus had cleared. I really can understand how vulnerable pregnancy makes a woman to these viruses and had I been able to have had a jab to avoid whatever I went through, I would have done.

    I will say it again: of course this whole thing has been planned for years, we were expecting a pandemic and all we are seeing is the plan swinging into action. In fact I woudl be seriously worried if thsi hadn't been planned for, even though much of the response seems pretty shambolic. Thankfully it was a different strain to the one expected and unfortunately it would seem we have acted in haste and so far the result that we've over-reacted (so far, there is a possibility that we will need a more vigorous response later) - and I believe it has been seized upon to try to manipulate our behaviour. Of course the pharmaceutical companies will make a mint, but that doesn't mean that the jab won't be needed by some people. I totally agree that most people don't go for the seasonal flu vaccine but then I suspect that many aren't aware of the dangers of it - I wouldn't be surprised if the seasonal flu vaccine uptake is higher this year.

    Complain about this comment

  • 40. At 7:12pm on 18 Oct 2009, CptnStL wrote:

    I'm fascinated currently by this little journalistic gem from the following:

    http://www.thelocal.de/national/20091018-22649.html

    "Just a week after it emerged that the German armed forces was getting a different kind of A/H1N1 vaccine to the general population, Der Spiegel magazine reports that the government will also get special treatment.

    EU says German aid could stymie Opel deal - Business & Money (17 Oct 09)
    The general population will be offered the GlaxoSmithKline vaccine, called Pandemrix, which contains a new booster element, or adjuvant, as well as a preservative containing mercury.

    Controversy has grown around the rapid licensing of the GSK vaccine – and a similar one being made by Novartis. Critics said not enough testing had been conducted before European licensing authorities rushed an approval.

    Chancellor Angela Merkel, her cabinet members and ministry civil servants as well as those working for other agencies will get Celvapan, produced by US firm Baxter, which does not have the adjuvant or the preservative, according to Der Spiegel."

    Comments, BBC or indeed the government here?

    Complain about this comment

  • 41. At 7:58pm on 18 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Nick, I also meant to say that just because something is classified as a hormone doesn't make it any more natural. For example, I was pumped full of the hormones that trigger labour, in 'safe' doses, in order to facilitate a 'natural' delivery. The result was that my baby became oxygen deprived, I needed a crash section and she is lucky not only to have escaped permanent brain damage but to be alive at all. I also take hormones to prevent further pregnancy but I don't kid myself it's natural. I don't have periods for a start, but as far as I'm concerned my body has had it after three sections in four years and I'd rather take my chances with artificially high levels of hormones than go through another pregnancy. I'm not saying that no-one should take vit d but in large doses it is no more natural than any other drug, it could have side effects and can be toxic if misused.

    Complain about this comment

  • 42. At 9:37pm on 18 Oct 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    CptnStl - thats very interesting, annoying and not very surprising.

    Angel - Hope the lil ones are better now, prob more than likely SF has passed through your way and you hadnt noticed. If mine have had it, then I wouldnt have noticed if it wasnt for the temperature. Trouble is, we still have the vaccine problem because unless we have lab tested results, we still cannot be 100% sure they are immune X

    Complain about this comment

  • 43. At 10:18pm on 18 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Hi, Tinkerbell, are your little ones all better? Mine are okay, except I don't think my boy is 100% yet. Not sure if the new tantrums are a part of feeling grotty or not! They didn't really get massive temps but they had coughs (not especially bad, mind), snotty noses and tummy upsets. They all looked incredibly pale and tired, but were quite well in themselves, so I don't know if it was sf or not. Re the vaccine, right now I think by the time we get offered it we will almost have reached herd immunity, certainly I think cases will be tailing off, unless the Govt. revises their list and pushes children further up it so we need to decide sooner. I'm not worrying about it that much because I think it depends very much on the situation at the time of the vaccine being available, and right now that looks like it will be so far in the future we will possibly be out of the woods, or things will have changed in a way that makes the decision easier. We will also have a better idea about side effects as well. Assuming that sf doesn't change, I don't vaccinate for seasonal flu so I probably won't be in a hurry to with sf. Interestingly my GP has gone from highly recommending it to saying that it is a matter of personal choice whether we get the children jabbed. He was emphatic that pregnant women should but he clearly no longer thinks it is as necessary for healthy children as he did a couple of months' ago - in fact he did say that he wasn't sure what the NHS is going to do with all the surplus vaccine that it will eventually be left with.

    Complain about this comment

  • 44. At 00:37am on 19 Oct 2009, Jen wrote:

    I'm wondering a lot this evening-

    isn't the Baxter vaccine the one which is grown in eggs?

    If 1 dose of the Pandemrix usually produces 'sufficient' immunity, how do you know if you have that level of adequacy after vaccination? How many people should, in fact be given 2 doses to be sure? Is this an economy drive at the risk of the nation's health?

    The numbers again. As many posters have pointed out, if it's that mild all the time, why are we getting vaccinations at all? I know it's a pandemic, but as more people die from seasonal flu and/or it's complications, why aren't more people encouraged to be vaccinated every year. I can't help but question the reasoning-is it because it is somehow more acceptable that more babies and elderly folk die of seasonal flu, and unacceptable that older children and young adults are more vulnerable? It has been nagging me for some time.

    Even if this a dry run, actual numbers are wildly inaccurate-I've said this before. Even the HPA bulletins carry a caution and what they do quote has a massive range to it. I tend to look at hospitalisation and ICU numbers as increase indicators.

    Also, as Bob Rocket, others and myself have mentioned, the time taken to produce a vaccine has been woefully slow. Had SF been more serious, thousands upon thousands would have died already. For those suggesting this whole business is a conspiracy to make money, then why would you want to kill off so many potential vaccine recipients? Also, surely a vaccine would have been available sooner if SF has been deliberately bio-engineered?

    I still have grave concerns at the lack of testing for pregnant women and Pandemrix.

    And if we have 30 million people worth of vaccine coming, why only 500 doses per GP. It's an absolute joke. 50 percent of the population surely equals 50 percent of the surgery. Or are so many people health workers of one description or another being vaccinated that 500 doses will cover the full range of other people on the current priority list?

    Where do high street chemists get their flu vaccine from if it's in such short supply? Both my local ones are offering SF vaccinations - how are they allowed to do this?!

    I am also not happy that a computer algorhythm is to be what says 'I pick you to be on the lucky list'! This assumes that everyone has had all the correct boxes ticked on the computer file. I can't help but think that a huge amount of people will be missed off the invitation list.

    Complain about this comment

  • 45. At 10:00am on 19 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Tiger, re the reason we are still being told we need the vaccine - is that the case? As far as I can see it is only those at risk of complications re any type of flu, including pregnant women who are being told to get the vaccine. The last I heard (and it might have changed since) it hasn't even been decided whether to roll out the vaccination to the 'healthy' population or not. When the vaccine was first ordered we had no idea what we were facing. Now we do and in truth we have probably over-ordered, unless it mutates into a more dangerous form. Talking to medical people I know, including my GP, they are of the opinion that the vaccine is going to be pushed to stop it looking like the NHS has wasted millions on a vaccine that we don't need. I also think that maybe a lot of people have been ignoring the dangers of seasonal flu and this will have been an eye opener for them, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the seasonal flu jab uptake increase as people realise they fall into 'at risk' categories and have either fallen through the net or haven't been taking it seriously. I believe that the population as a whole is more worried because sf is killing young adults, but in my experience the NHS is excellent at targetting the elderly for flu vaccination. The media might not care but the GPs do. Our surgery just held its fluathon, they have tombolas, cakes stalls etc., to encourage older people who wouldn't normally make the effort to go and get their jab whist having a good time, and the money raised goes to a local charity.

    Complain about this comment

  • 46. At 1:26pm on 19 Oct 2009, BLT wrote:

    Can't believe those who are screaming conspiracy citing the fact that the management of swine flu seems like it was planned. Of course it was! With the threat of avain flu and evidence of past pandemics of course plans were going to be in place to deal with anything that arose! That is the responsible and right thing to do. I wonder what people would be saying if it was bird flu circulating or if the mortality rates for swine flu were higher. I'm sure more people would be desperate to get the exact same vaccine (adjusted for any different version of flu). I just wonder if those 'I'm not going to go within a mile of it' would then. Or still might! As for why don't they only vaccinate those in need and not everyone - that is what they are doing. I would imagine the swine flu vaccine is no where near being offered to the population generally. As for why don't they make this fuss over the seasonal flu jab - again everyone who needs it knows they can get it. If people choose not to, that's up to them. Advertising campaigns are carried out every year.

    Complain about this comment

  • 47. At 3:01pm on 19 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Tiger, I can't find a single private clinic or high st pharmacy offering sf vaccines, although plenty are offering seasonal flu vaccination. As I understand it there is a shortage of seasonal flu vaccine so this would seem irresponsible as it might not go to those who really need it. Lloyds are offering tamiflu on-line, but that's all I can find re sf.

    Complain about this comment

  • 48. At 5:36pm on 19 Oct 2009, SkylineOnFire wrote:

    Honestly im going to leave you guys to the..... People with the questionable theories. Its pointless for me to be here when every post i put up is followed by several posts saying how im so wrong, with absolutely no sources for their information, with the most pathetic theories i've ever heard, and with the most offensively inaccurate statistics possible.

    There are about 3-4 posters here who are rational, decent people. There are double that number who are just simply idiots. Anyone who states things like "40-50 percent of all medicine does nothing", or "there have been no more than one million cases worldwide because thats the only statistic ive seen"... SERIOUSLY?! You really think this? So there were 1 million cases by mid june apparently worldwide, at the least. That was the last "statistic" given. So since june there have been zero cases? I'd love to describe what i feel about your... Kind, but id be banned.

    Sorry but the people i have to deal with here arent worth my time, or the time of any of you rational people. Its a shame because a month ago these people werent here. Now they are infecting this place with their conspiracy, negative, factually inaccurate garbage. Its pointless for someone with genuine information and a geniune background in this subject to be here.

    Never expect anyone with any medical knowledge to post here again, they will take one look at the mindless drones discussing wether the mercury in the vaccine or the brain tissue is whats going to kill them, or that there have only apparently been 1 million cases worldwide, HAH!, and leave.

    Done.

    Complain about this comment

  • 49. At 7:05pm on 19 Oct 2009, paulisabout wrote:

    Skyline - what an amazing EGO you have. We are all welcome to our opinion are we not? Smile!

    Complain about this comment

  • 50. At 7:13pm on 19 Oct 2009, WasitovertheLine wrote:

    Skyline .. that is fine ... go back to making films .. your ego and rudeness to other posters who wish to explore other knowledge is not appreciated here. I do not debunk your statisitics .. I simply do not share your views. But I am not rude about it.
    What on earth is wrong with discussing mercury and squalene content in the vaccines when in the US they have suspended the legal limits of mercury in vaccines .. They have even given LEGEL IMMUNITY AGAINST PROSECUTION to the vaccine makers against lawsuits resulting from reactions to the vaccine. If that is not food for thought what is ... and that is fact .. not conspiracy .. I have never mentioned one conspiracy here .. all these facts are in the news ..
    If anyone else wants to look then just google thimserol and squalene .. and make up your own minds.
    In Germany today the mainline press reported that German politicians and families will NOT be given the vaccine with Squalene .. You are all free to make up your own minds .. and this is a forum for free discussion.

    Complain about this comment

  • 51. At 7:21pm on 19 Oct 2009, yorkshireshaz wrote:

    SkylineOnFire

    I would ask you to reconsider leaving this blog as there must be hundreds of people like me that read every word on the swine flu blog just to get an unbiased view and as many facts as possible. I agree with you there are quite a few who post on here that seem to have some strange ideas but they are easily dismissed. Once again please stay, on behalf of all the “lurkers” that read but do not post.

    64 – Diabetic – Vaccination taker – Polio as a kid (wish there was a vaccination then)

    Complain about this comment

  • 52. At 8:04pm on 19 Oct 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    Skyline, pls continue to post, for those of us who need the positive facts and also, I want you to be here so I can annoy you if SF mutates.

    ;-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 53. At 9:09pm on 19 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Skyline, come on, you know how much we need your common sense to talk us down when we all start losing it a bit. I think that Yorkshiresalutations sums it up best. And really, however angry you might be with the conspiracy theorists/anti vaccinations chaps, there are few who take them seriously and those who do will be looking for the info they mention anyway, you can read it in the Daily Mail, it's nothing new. Don't bother engaging with them if it riles you too much. Think about everyone with health anxiety that you reassure, I'd say you were performing a public service. (of course, I'm counting myself in your 3-4 reasonable posters, naturally ;-))

    Wasit, however offended you might be talking up the vaccine risk will put lives at risk and that is why Skyline is so angry. You have made up your mind which is fine, but we all have the same access to information as you do, you are not telling us anything new. Any parent will be familiar with vaccine preservatives for a start. What many of us don't have (myself included) is access to the type of knowledge and information that Skyline has, and even if I could find the info I do not have the ability to process it or make it understandable in the way he can. You might think you are doing people a favour by repeating the information that you do but please remember that many people who read and use this blog have health anxiety, which is terribly debilitating and can stop someone from functioning in any meaningful way. In fact for many people the fear of swine flu will make them sicker than swine flu itself.

    Paul, love the passive aggressive 'smile' there.

    Lol, Tinkerbell!

    Complain about this comment

  • 54. At 10:11pm on 19 Oct 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    Angel, my lil one was due to have her MMR booster tomorrow, but I have cancelled it as she is still full of cold/cough and as her older sister had the suspected case earlier this week, I am a bit hesitant to get her vaccinated.

    I looked it up on the internet and it says that if a child has a cold then they can still go ahead with the booster, but am I being overly anxious to think that if a cold could possibly be SF symptoms, then it would be too much for her lil body to take all in one go?

    It does say that if your child has a virus then it is best to wait a month and then go ahead, but how do you know? Its common sense to me to delay it, but would it actually cause any harm do you think, if you had the SF and were then vaccinated against something else?

    Complain about this comment

  • 55. At 10:49pm on 19 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Tinkerbell, I'm so obviously no expert, all I can tell you is what I would do as a mum. I know that my GP doesn't jab if a child is unwell or within recent illness. Personally I don't think having a jab on top of a cold does any long-term harm. But with sf...who knows, I mean, it is such a new virus and they obviously don't recommend vaccination with seasonal flu. So if it were me, I'd wait. Remember too that the second MMR isn't actually a booster, it's a safety net - 95% of children will have full immunity from one jab but 5% won't, so all children get a second jab 'just in case'. I once spoke to someone who had a very good knowledge of MMR and she said that whilst you cannot be definite, it's pretty likely that children who have side effects with the first jab will have immunity. So if your little girl had the temp around the time the measles part of the vaccine kicked in then she will probably be covered. I'm not saying don't have the booster, but this might give you a bit of reassurance until she's well enough to have it. Is measles about where you live right now? If your elder daughter had sf symptoms then the chances are that your younger daughter has had it too, given how contagious it is, and has just had a milder form or not had the temp. FWIW my boy is due some boosters and I'm not doing it until he looks much better in himself. HTH in some way. xxx

    Complain about this comment

  • 56. At 11:06pm on 19 Oct 2009, dmmt23 wrote:

    SkylineOnFire wrote:
    ", or "there have been no more than one million cases worldwide because thats the only statistic ive seen"... SERIOUSLY?! You really think this? So there were 1 million cases by mid june apparently worldwide, at the least. That was the last "statistic" given. So since june there have been zero cases? I'd love to describe what i feel about your... Kind, but id be banned."

    I honestly don't mind being proven wrong, but the highest statistic I could find of cumulative flu cases since April is just over 700,000. It is extremely likely that there are many more people who have been infected but if they're unreported then they aren't cases, and can't be relied upon to make guesses as to how widespread a virus is without taking into account regional variations in social factors, geography, climate, air traffic, health-care infrastructure, etc. You can even compare the same virus in two different places and come to very different conclusions.

    I just think it's a little hasty to call anything given the lack of information. I wouldn't put too much faith in projections considering it's all too easy to give or take a few hundred thousand here or there, and the conclusions you can draw from that are pretty skewed.

    Complain about this comment

  • 57. At 00:13am on 20 Oct 2009, Jen wrote:

    Phew! Been dallying a little on another blog too in recent days-Mark Easton's about the education report. If some think Skyline is bad, check out Jaded Jean! She was very unpleasant to me and everyone else, and she's like that on other blogs too!

    Such a relief to get back here to reasonable, polite and considerate people who use a blog for discussion, information and support with respect for others.

    Skyline don't get so angry! Everyone brings something to this blog, and takes something too. You must do too, otherwise you wouldn't keep posting. The amount of useful stuff within Fergus' blogosphere is staggering, and your posts are invaluable. It's great that you care so much about others, but try not to get so upset if not everyone accepts your every word.

    Angel, I'll check the pharmacy vaccination service again next time I'm out-maybe I read it wrong. But in any case, I think it's dreadful any chemists are offering vaccinations-mainly because a chemist doesn't have the medical expertise or patient knowledge/records to know whether there may be post vaccination problems. Vaccination against anything should be done by doctors full stop. I'm surprised it's even allowed!

    Tinkerbell-I wholly agree with Angel re vaccination a child with a cold or virus. Their systems surely have enough to cope with without chucking something else at their immune system? I was like this with mine and this approach was advocated by my GP. I know my kids are adults now, but I don't think things like this have changed much. The only thing that seems different is how young babies are when they get their jabs. In my 'mummy' days it was 3 months and 5 months, MMR boosters at 3 yrs. I guess there must be a good reason.

    If my tests at the specialist 2 weeks ago confirm the continued decline of my IgG and IgA's, my specialist will try me with a pneumonia vaccine. If I have what he thinks it may be, I won't develop very good antibodies. If not what he thinks, I've got a bone marrow biopsy to look forward to-ouch! Apparently I can have regular transfusions of these IgG's which could make me feel a lot better for a while. I'm trying not to get excited, but after suffering for such a long time and being told it's all in my head, it's hard not to!

    He also said he would give me seasonal and SF vaccines so he can keep an eye on me, but only after these test results come back. I don't think I've ever looked forward to seeing a doc so much in my life!

    Complain about this comment

  • 58. At 02:33am on 20 Oct 2009, BobRocket wrote:

    Tinkerbell, any vaccination (MMR etc) can occasionaly give rise to a mild fever or other symptoms for a few hours afterwards, in very rare cases these symptoms can be a precursor to a more serious reaction (and I mean really rare).
    If the child already has a cold/fever etc. then the symptoms of vaccine reaction could be masked so your health professionals are usually unwilling to vaccinate at that time.

    As to the conspiracy theories, interesting though they are, they are just that. (certainly more convincing if you read them whilst wearing a turqoise shell-suit)

    Will I be having the sf vaccine when it becomes available ? probably not but only because I think that my whole family and I have already had it during the first wave (a simple test like the TB jab 6-needles would be useful) and secondly we are all in the very lowest of the risk groups so we will be at the back of the queue anyway.
    If we were further up the groups then we probably would consider having it.










    Complain about this comment

  • 59. At 09:38am on 20 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Tiger, I can't bear to read the education report, we know it will be ignored and what the education system is doing to our children is terrifying. My elder daughter is spending the whole of this week having tests in exam conditions because it is 'assessment week'. She's 7. The amount of homework that she gets is comparable to the homework I got on entry into secondary school. Needless to say, Ofsted love her school to bits, in fact they want to see more testing. I read a report when GB was still Chancellor by (I think) Civitas - if not it was the Policy Exchange people - about how his agenda was to take over the raising of children in institutions and sideline parents by making them work such long hours that children are in tightly-prescribed childcare from early in the morning to last thing at night. The education has to be 'on message' so that we raise good citizens away from the possibly dangerous free thinking they might pick up at home. I can see it happening at my daughters' school and it is very worrying. We are activley exploring ways of getting our kids out of the system but are constrained by our cashflow. Sorry, off topic but I can't join the Mark Easton blog as I'd get too depressed, the govt's education policy scares me far more than SF! Trouble is, as the Tories introduced SATS and the curriculum I have no faith that it will improve.

    I'm glad that you are getting such positive vibes from your doctor, and I wish you all the best with your tests and treatment, if you want any healing sent your way just ask.

    Re High ST vaccination, I agree with you, this year they are taking vaccines away from sugeries where there are shortages, which means there may not be enough to reach those who need it. Furthermore some people may not understand what is on offer and could end up having two jabs, one at their surgeries and one in the chemist. Having access to patient records and follow-ups is vital.


    Tinkerbell, on reflection I think I read something once about raised temps making vaccines less effective, and obviously the very latest is that Calpol and vaccines shouldn't be given together so if your little girl is a little bit hot or is having anything for her cold symptoms then you should wait. The thing with MMR is that the temp often comes out in the following days/weeks so I suppose the other problem might be that you wouldn't be able to tell if it was the vaccine making your daughter ill, or a virus - my elder daughter got a temp of 39.5 from the measles part about a week later, my other two didn't get temps at all. OTOH I believe side effects are milder the second time around. HTH.

    Complain about this comment

  • 60. At 1:57pm on 20 Oct 2009, sparklinglibellule wrote:

    Hello,

    I find the Fergus On Flu blog valuable and informative and I would also like to thank the regular “posters” whose contribution to the blog is very much appreciated and reassuring.

    I admit I am a “lurker” who reads the blog everyday!

    Please keep on posting! :).


    Complain about this comment

  • 61. At 5:04pm on 20 Oct 2009, yorkshireshaz wrote:

    Welcome Sparkling, nowt wrong with being a “Lurker” unless you lived in the Whitechapel area of London in the late 1880s that is.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the other 199 Lurkers out there logged on and introduced themselves, I read this blog every day because I am worried of SF and find reading all the opinions helps. I got polio as a child before vaccinations for it came in and ever since I try to get any protection against all the nasties I can. I also take supplements and eat healthy food so I bat in both camps.

    Being Diabetic I am in the at risk group but only just at 64 ½ but don’t really know why Diabetics are so at risk I am type 2 and well controlled.

    Anyway I will be having the jab as soon as possible, in fact I have a cunning plan. Now listen as I will only say this once :-

    I have delayed my six month Diabetic clinic visit until next week, I know the practice will have the 500 SF jabs in the stock cupboard then. So I will tip up with a box of chocolates ( sugar free of course ) and try to sweet talk the Nurse into having mine while I am there, just to save time of course.

    Now I know a lot of you out there will disapprove of getting a nurse to go to the stock cupboard for a quickie but that’s in your mind not mine.

    Keep the posts coming I really appreciate them.

    Complain about this comment

  • 62. At 5:46pm on 20 Oct 2009, Lurkingmumoftwo wrote:

    Well we are all coming out of the woodwork now!! I am another lurker!!
    I have found this blog absolutely invaluable over the last few months and would also like to thank all of the regular posters especially; Angel, Tinkerbell, Tiger, Skyline and of course Granny (who I am missing - hope you are ok?)
    This blog has allowed me to get a better perspective on SF and I feel so much better informed and definately not so petrified by it all.
    I can't promise to add much to the blog but would urge all you regulars to please keep posting as you have saved my sanity (and probably lots of other peoples too!)!! It would also be a real shame if Skyonline doesn't post again.

    Take care X

    Complain about this comment

  • 63. At 6:22pm on 20 Oct 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    Can I just say thanks for all your posts re the MMR, I really appreciate it. I did cancel and am glad I did now, just incase.
    Its great to be able to ask everyone. X

    And how lovely is it that all the lurkers are posting? And if you are lurking Skyline, get back on!!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 64. At 6:27pm on 20 Oct 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Lurkingmumoftwo,
    Thank you for your kind thoughts. I am here and read the posts every day. I shall only blog if I find out something that might be of use. Croftblogs have an article which might be interesting to some of you
    15 swine flu facts every parent should know
    www.onlinenursingprograms.net/2009/15-swine-flu-facts-every-parent-should-know
    if it doesn't come up try a google search

    Complain about this comment

  • 65. At 6:28pm on 20 Oct 2009, oxford_sf wrote:

    yorkshiresalutations: I love your idea, and I'm sure the nurses will love the choccies! I'm just wondering how long to wait before ringing for an appointment at my surgery - everyone at my college is going down with flu of some sort, although I'm not convinced they all have SF. Some are definitely getting quite ill though (chest infections etc), so I really don't want to risk it. I'm glad I've had the seasonal jab at least though - I reckon it will give some protection, particularly if there's a variety of strains going around. A couple of friends of mine who are GPs have been saying that the swabs they send off are not coming back as SF very often, so it's likely that there's a lot of other bugs going around (much like every other year really...)

    Complain about this comment

  • 66. At 6:32pm on 20 Oct 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    LurkingMum, I dont add much either, only insane worrying, lol, doesnt stop me posting, so would be good if you kept posting tooX

    Complain about this comment

  • 67. At 10:45pm on 20 Oct 2009, dmmt23 wrote:

    oxford_sf wrote:
    "A couple of friends of mine who are GPs have been saying that the swabs they send off are not coming back as SF very often, so it's likely that there's a lot of other bugs going around"

    The nasal swabs seem to be notorious for throwing up false negatives. It's my understanding that they're only really good for confirmation of an infection.

    Complain about this comment

  • 68. At 00:24am on 21 Oct 2009, Jen wrote:

    Evening all! Seems we are a blog of fruitloops and lurkers! I confess I chop and change freely between the two-in recent days being a lurker...! :-)

    angel-re Mark Easton's blogs (with the exception of one apparently seriously abusive and unbalanced individual who sees anarchists at every turn), the blog supports the education report by Cambridge Educationalists. Basically suggests that the governments driven various reforms over the last umpteen years are not working. The majority of posters are parents, teachers and educationalists who fully support independent thought in children and wish the national curriculum, testing etc were all done away with. You would enjoy it, but just skip over the comments by you know who (I see that some of her comments have been removed thank goodness-she calls me stupid, naive and badly taught-hilarious! Hope you get to read it before it gets moderated). It's the blog that mentions authoritarianism in the title. You are so clever, I bet you could home educate your children....

    Another one for you, a school in Wales with SF and other bugs has had to close because of staff shortages. I would imagine they're hoping half term will sort it out. There may be rural schools in England who have to do this as relief staff may not be easily sourced.

    Re suggesting a gentle word to secure an SF vaccination-why not as you are in a priority list? Saves time and a stamp-especially with postal strikes looming! Whatever is wrong with a simple phone call if the post is going to be unreliable? Not only is a computer algorhythm making the decisions, we are to rely on letters! This adds to my concern that many people will be missed altogether, if for no other reason than they didn't get the letter, missed their chance and heaven knows if they are going to get a vaccination before Christmas! There must surely be contingency plans in these circumstances?

    My daughter has finally succombed to 'Fresher's Flu' although she's a 3rd year. (maybe it should be called 'fird year flu', or 'finals flu' or even 'dissertation doldrums'?! Hubbie coughing, but remains to be seen if he really is ill, he only started coughing after he took a call from a coughing client (yup-he does have a touch of Hyperchondria about him, but I have to be careful as he's overweight).

    Great to see you post again Granny. Please keep in touch.

    Complain about this comment

  • 69. At 00:28am on 21 Oct 2009, Jen wrote:

    Thanks for the offer of healing Angel- I'll give you a shout if my household gets too 'lurgy ridden'.

    I hope noone takes offence at my opening comment previously. I meant it lightheartedly.

    Complain about this comment

  • 70. At 09:31am on 21 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Tiger - re the education report - I can't bear to read it because it spells out the damage that the education my children are getting is doing to them, I know I will agree with it and equally I know that the Govt will insult and ignore it, they'd signalled as much before its publication. Sadly 'stalinist' could apply to some of the policies adopted my my daughters' school as much as the Govt., last week my eldest spent all day writing a story (except for a break for maths) and her teacher threatened to destroy the whole lot because her presentation wasn't neat enough and she'd got some spellings wrong. She was told that the story itself was 'excellent'. Poor love, she started to cry and had to hide it because their teacher doesn't allow them to, she was scared she'd get shouted at again. Problem is the teachers are nice as pie to us and spin all these incidents so that it appears the children are exaggerating - except it's not only my kids that are saying it. I'd love to home-ed, but circumstances (self-employment, demanding pre-schooler, fear over social services thinking we're hiding something) make it tricky. I feel utterly powerless to do what is right for my children. Sorry, off topic again and thanks to the moderators for letting this in.

    I have no problem with being a fruitloop, I consider myself a flake anyway, albeit a sensible one! How is your daughter and hubby? Yes, do shout if you want and healing sent your way.

    Tinkerbell, how are your little ones?

    Hello, newbies and lurkers, nice to meet you all. I agree with Tinkerbell, do keep posting, it's so good to get more opinions and ideas. I have zero knowledge about sf, viruses, or the off-side rule but I still witter on quite happily! :-)

    Skyline, you see, you are performing a public service. Get back here pronto, your country needs you. (well, this blog does anyway.)

    Complain about this comment

  • 71. At 10:05am on 21 Oct 2009, Jen wrote:

    Oh Angel, my heart goes out to you and your children re school. I could never bear to hear other teachers screaming at their classes or individual children. I only ever shouted once-a child in my class was about to run across the road. I'm a very patient person anyway, and raise my voice so rarely that when I do there's a stunned hush across the house! At uni when I was training to teach, we were taught that teachers who shout are not very good-fear is not an effective control or teaching tool-children in fear never work well-happy children learn and work so much better. As for presentation and spelling-handwriting should be practised on it's own, and a good story develops over a drafting process. I once took a class load of stories home, typed them up, warts and all, and the children found it so much easier to edit them. They loved seeing their work 'in print'! I'd offer to teach yours at home, but I don't think I live near enough to you. (again, thanks mods for allowing this).

    Daughter just a cold this morning, hubbie fine (!). Hopefully with half terms looming across the country SF numbers will dip and give doctors the chance to get a head start on vaccinations. Did I read somewhere that immunity doesn't get to a protective level until 3 weeks after vaccination? Does that mean that a vaccinated person could still contract SF anyway?

    Complain about this comment

  • 72. At 11:20am on 21 Oct 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    Angel, thats disgusting. I would be up the school pronto if that was my lil one. Shocking! They are there to praise, encourage and teach not bully and intimidate. That simply is not acceptable!
    I had words with my daughters teacher because she sent another child round with my daughters homework whilst she was off ill with SF last week. Got an apology yesterday, turned out the Headmaster hadnt told her what was wrong with our daughter. They are providing a service to you and your children and if it is not up to scratch, then you are entitled to make a noise. Thats made me v angry actually. Bless your lil oneX

    Tiger, which school has shut in Wales, do you know?

    Complain about this comment

  • 73. At 1:07pm on 21 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Oh, Tiger, I wish you could come and teach my children, you sound so lovely. I think getting the story down, then reworking it and correcting mistakes is fine, but this is just so wrong. Tinkerbell, the problem is that when we talk to the teachers (yes, we've had problems with more than one) the story is changed or denied flatly, or you are made to feel as though you don't really understand the teaching methods applied by the school, or that you are unsupportive. It is very difficult to pin them down. For example, my younger daughter's teacher told me that they are very low-key with SATS, but a friend's child came home and told his mum that a girl (not mine, thankfully) was 'letting the whole school down' because she hadn't been practising enough. Yet when you raise this, or the shouting, it's just denied, or it's made out that your child has misunderstood, or is exaggerating, and how can we prove it - we're not there when it happens. My elder daughter's teacher might shout at her but she gushes all over me, telling me what a great mum I am etc. Very difficult. And even if we did make a fuss, what would change?

    Anyway, we're going to look at a fee-paying school later this week, can't afford the actual fees but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. The only decent (i.e. play-based) state school nearby won't touch us because we're not churchgoers.

    Thanks for all your support, am feeling very frazzled by it at the moment. (Thanks to the moderators again, too.)

    Anyway...re the flu vaccine, I don't know how long it takes to kick in but with MMR it takes 3 weeks for the various components to become 'live', you have an agonising wait as each part starts to work and the side effects may or may not take hold, so it wouldn't surprise me if it takes a while for the sf vaccine to work. Tiger, glad your daughter is on the mend, let's hope that's sf out of the way for her. Lol at your dh, that is such a man thing!

    Complain about this comment

  • 74. At 2:08pm on 21 Oct 2009, sparklinglibellule wrote:

    Hello again,

    The insurance company I work for is offering the seasonal flu vaccine to all employees. I had my shot this morning. The nurse told me that the vaccine should take between 10 to 16 days to kick in, but to give it 21 days just incase.
    Maybe the swine flu vaccine will react in the same way.

    Complain about this comment

  • 75. At 6:23pm on 21 Oct 2009, robbo wrote:

    myself and my wife have discussed this, and we have decided to have the vaccine if it is offered and to get all of our children vaccinated, the risks of dying from complications from swine flu are far greater than the chances of suffering from side effects from any potential vaccine, everybody talks about GB syndrome from vaccines, from what i have read GB is atemporary paralysis, and faced with the choice between temporary paralysis and death, which would you choose? also doing some resaerch, this vaccine is based on seasonal flu vaccines with advejents (apologies if spelt wrong) which have been used for the last ten years in europe without any cases of serious side effects, this may be a mild illness now, but this virus showed us in 1918 what it is capable of becoming, i am not saying it is going to happen again, but in my mind it is better to be safe than sorry, and please don't listen to all the tin foil hat conspiracy theorists, make up your own mind based on your own research, go with what is actually proven scientifically, not unproven conjecture, these people are dangerous and should not be given a stage to shake there fist against the world, trust in your own instinct and stay safe and well, take care all, and thankyou fergus, i very nearly had an emotional breakdown because i was so worried about my little lucie because of swine flu (she has asthma) until i started reasing this blog, you saved my sanity, all of you.

    Complain about this comment

  • 76. At 7:09pm on 21 Oct 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    Angel, I have just re-read my post to you earlier and realise it sounded like I was ranting at you to go and rant at them, sorry if it came across that way, I was just so incensed by what that awful excuse for a teacher did, it all came spilling out. Sorry. It must be awful when they are not even owning up to their own mistakes. Is there anywhere higher you can report to other than the Head? XXXXXX

    Delta, thats exactly how I felt when the pandemic broke, there is truly nothing worse than worrying about your children. I am a born worrier anyway, when it comes to them. My husband will say she has a popped blister, I will say its a flesh eating bug and not rest till its gone! lol This blog has been a sanity saver, completely, all the lovely posters on here are great at making all those niggly concerns that you wouldnt always mention to others go away. Skyline esp injects a healthy dose of reality and I think the blog really needs his input.

    I appreciate the fact that there is one consistent, sensible blog on this subject, a lot of the other sites scare you half to death. I would also like to thank Fergus.

    Complain about this comment

  • 77. At 7:11pm on 21 Oct 2009, tihori wrote:

    My fiancee is in her 5th month of pregnancy and is therefore considered to be in one of the high risk groups. I have been reading about the two types of vaccine available, Pandemrix and Celvapan. Pandemrix contains an egg based adjuvant which is supposed to stimulate the immune system in pregnant women. However there are concerns about the safety of prescribing this vaccine to pregnant women as NO trials on pregnant women have been carried out. The adjuvant free vaccine, Celvapan is widely considered to be the safer option, and the World Health Organisation in July recommended that adjuvant free vaccines be administered to pregnant women where possible. The vaccine being rolled out across the NHS from next week is Pandemrix, which is a single shot vaccine licensed by GSK. Celvapan is a two shot vaccine licensed by Baxter.

    I went to my GP this morning to explain my concerns about this, she said she could only advise me along the same lines given to her by the Department of Health (which was to go for Pandemrix) BUT and it's a big but if she was pregnant herself, she didn't know if she would take Pandemrix. If my GP says that, what are we supposed to do? Perhaps it would be better if my fiancee didn't take any vaccine at all rather than risk her and her baby's health with Pandemrix.

    I'm confused and would appreciate clarification on this matter.

    Complain about this comment

  • 78. At 9:49pm on 21 Oct 2009, Lurkingmumoftwo wrote:

    Granny, pleased you are ok and thanks for the link. All good advice which I have been trying to get my girls to follow! They are a bit older than most posters’ children (12 and 14). X

    Thanks for your kind words Tinkerbell; you are all so friendly on here I feel I know you personally! X

    Tihori, I have so much sympathy for you and your fiancé and wish I could offer advice. I can only imagine how worried you both are. This is were the powers that be fall down; they should be giving advice to people like you about which vaccine is safest. Are both vaccines now approved? I am wondering if it is a supply problem and this is why they are suggesting Pandemrix. It is so difficult to make the choice. What I did recently about the HPV vaccine, which was offered to my girls, was to weigh up the benefits and risks. This was much easier for that vaccine, given their ages, and we decided that the risks outweighed the benefits. If they were older we would have probably decided to have them vaccinated; I am not against vaccination per say (they have had all the other childhood jabs). I am sure some of the regulars will have a more scientific slant on this and hopefully will be able to help you make your decision. I wish you all the best and hope that you are both still managing to enjoy the pregnancy which is a very special time. X

    Angel, I am a recently qualified (but not working) primary teacher and I despair of schools that pressurise the children like that. In my limited experience I have always found that children achieve wonderfully when they feel respected, safe and allowed to progress at their own pace. I think some teachers have lost touch with what their main purpose is and that is to create a safe environment for children to enjoy learning (emphasis on enjoy). In my opinion it is impossible to force a child to learn they must want to!! X

    My girls’ school is currently experiencing some sort of break out of sf although it hasn't been confirmed officially. Seems to have stemmed from a geography field trip to the north and some classes had between a quarter to half missing last week. As far as I understand a lot of these students have returned this week so if it is SF it seems relatively mild. They didn't close the school.

    My youngest was off school a couple of weeks ago with a really nasty virus which ticked all the boxes except the temperature - so who knows she may have also had it!! I wish there was some way of telling!!

    It has been really helpful reading how you are all dealing with the anxieties and possible health choices; so many of you mirror how I feel. That is why this blog is so comforting. I stumbled across it just after the Mexican outbreak when there was very little information out there. I think one of the worst things in the early days was the lack of information which definately fed my fears!

    Now I have started blogging I can’t stop!!!

    Take care XX

    Complain about this comment

  • 79. At 00:14am on 22 Oct 2009, universalmum wrote:

    delta3074 your post has highlighted some of the concerns I'm currently going through with my daughter because you say "if the vaccine is offered" but it won't be offered to anyone other than the priority groups at this stage, so I think if you think you should get you and all the rest of your family vaccinated apart from your girl with asthma who obviously is priority you will have to push your GP to do so. I have an appointment with one of our depressingly disappointing GPs on Friday for my daughter at which I am going to have to get him to think through whether he thinks she should have it because she should be considered in a priority group. She isn't currently considered so but I think that should be re-assessed because of her health history. I doubt that my GP will share my point of view (how I envy all those on this blog who have such a good relationship with their GPs - I'm currently in the middle of a complaint about my GPs practice because of misinformation and lack of help when I wanted clear information) or want to make the necessary referral/s to enable me to have her immune system properly tested, so in the meantime I rationalise my fears over whether she should have the vaccine or not by using the following arguments:
    - would not/have never consider/ed her for seasonal flu vaccine
    - mortality rates for sf extremely low given incidence of cases
    - she may have already had it in first wave in July
    - I am giving her elderberry extract (Sambucol - google it) to boost immunity.

    By the way a good friend of mine got GB syndrome after getting flu earlier this year and he has been making a slow and difficult recovery having been admitted to a specialist neurological hospital for some months. Temporary paralysis it may be but it has turned his whole life upside down and he has been unable do really anything for months now.

    On the sanity of this blog, time and time again, it helps me all the way, so thank you to all of you who find the time and energy to write. Sometimes I'm a lurker, and sometimes a fruitloop, but I hope I'm also someone who can contribute to helping us all think our way through this sensibly.

    Complain about this comment

  • 80. At 00:36am on 22 Oct 2009, RogerEli wrote:

    Another rare poster here - I only post when I have something worth saying which isn't very often!!!

    After much deliberation I took my 2 kids (9 and 4) to take part in the vaccination trial which was being discussed a few weeks ago. I discussed this with my GP and other healthcare professionals that I know and the majority view was that it was a great chance to get the vaccine which won't be available for healthy kids for months (if at all). I took the view that I would rather prevent them getting an unpleasant illness with possible complications (although rare) and that the vaccine would be as safe as any other flu vaccine (which are very safe) as they are produced using the same technology.

    The doctors at the trial were excellent both in the way they spoke to us about the possible side effects and risks and also explained these to the children. We were required to check their temps daily for a week after the jab and watch for any other signs of reaction. Neither of them had any reaction at all and no sign of even a slight temperature. One had the GSK and the other had the Baxter vaccine. They are due for the second jab this weekend and we were told that if they did not react to the first one then it is unlikely they would react to the second. One of the doctors phoned a few days after the first vaccine to check all was ok and when I said there had been no reaction I was told that this had been the case with the other children who had been vaccinated.

    I hope this reassures people about the vaccines and I personally feel lucky and relieved that I have had the opportunity to get my 2 vaccinated and not have to worry about them catching SF (which I had been doing). I know that the stats about severe illness or worse show that it is rare in healthy people but it is still a possibility in a small number of cases and where my kids are concerned I want to make any riskk as low as possible. As for myself I would definitely have the vaccine in offered but am not going to lose any sleep if I don't get it. I'm sure the parents on here will understand the contradiction!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 81. At 01:09am on 22 Oct 2009, Jen wrote:

    Roger, that's brilliant news for all parents out there-thank you so much for telling us all. Do please keep giving us updates.

    Angel-not sure about the schools in Wales (another one shut today for the same reason). It's on the BBC RSS.

    Universal Mum-my new doc is an immunologist at a private hospital in London-couldn't get to see him on the NHS as other docs (apart from one) all think it's psychological cos I'm a woman of that age! I had the same problem when my daughter was 7-couldn't get anywhere with it. This doc is fantastic and also has an NHS practice in Kings (a great hospital in my opinion). Don't think I can say his name on here though. He is brilliant and said that people are only just now beginning to look at the immune system in more depth as they have the technology now and realise a dysfunctional immune system can cause a lot more problems than rashes and extra colds.

    I know there is an Immunologist in the North West of England too-there must be loads around. Hate to say it, but the only way I have been able to get any joy in the last 3 and half years is paying to see the specialist privately. Costs a lot but so very worth it.

    I know it's vital that medical staff etc are vaccinated asap, but I still believe that Teachers and children should have been prioritised too.

    I note that that contingency plans re postal strikes are being discussed, but nothing definitive put in place yet. Though Sir Liam does say GP's may resort to the good old telephone system if needs be! Maybe text messages and email should also be considered? Although I don't think it's on records, but how much easier would that be for those with Internet access? Cheaper too!

    Complain about this comment

  • 82. At 02:38am on 22 Oct 2009, SkylineOnFire wrote:

    To the people who are saying its an "ego" thing with me. How? If it was, and i wanted respect and adoration, id post my real name, id post my website for my film company, id post the names of the friends i have in virology and medicine. Its not about me i don't give a damn about what people think of the anonymous "me".

    I do give a damn about the the 40 year old guy with severe asthma, who's not the brightest, and easily led, reading this blog, and deciding against the vaccine because of absolute unsourced garbage written by absolutely selfish people. The guy then goes and catches a particularly nasty bout of swine flu and dies.

    I give a damn about the mum of 3 who gets her kids a regular seasonal flu shot every year, but then decides against getting them a swine flu shot DESPITE IT BEING THE EXACT SAME THING, her kids then get SF in preshool, and one dies from it. That i do care about.


    Want anymore examples?


    UNLIKE your false idols, mike athers, alex jones and the other horrid scaremongering people responsible for countless deaths due to not seeking real medical treatment, i care about people and i want people to live. This is a mild flu for 99.9 percent of people but that 0.01 percent that may die, i dont want them to if it can be avoided.

    Sure thing, keep thinking im all about ego. I dont care. I just want people to take the vaccine and survive when they otherwise wouldnt. Healthy people dont need the shot. People with underlying health conditions, people over 65, and people under 10 do. They are more venerable. I dont want to see them die.

    Believe what you like. Science, fact, medicine and the vaccines responsible for saving MILLIONS OF LIVES A YEAR are on my side. Alex jones and mike athers with their "scent of newt urine" are on yours. Have fun! Just try not to take any sane people with you to the other side.


    Disgusting cretinous leeching behavior, you should be ashamed of yourselves. But that requires conscience and intelligence, 2 things i guess you dont possess.

    Complain about this comment

  • 83. At 07:36am on 22 Oct 2009, universalmum wrote:

    Thank you Tigerjayj I was hoping someone would pick up on the fact that I want her seen by an immunologist. And thanks for the recommendation. I will seek out yours, and I've also heard about a brilliant immunologist at Great Ormond Street, which of course would be ideal as it's a specialist children's hospital. I was told 4 years ago by a GP that the malaria and consequent chest infection she had suffered was unlikely to have affected her immune system and I accepted that opinion then I suppose because there wasn't any too nasty potentially fatal virus lurking around (although I got extremely anxious about H5N1 around the same time) and then we just got on with it. And thanks RogerEli I kept wondering what had happened to you and your kids because like you we were going to go for the trial but she got a cold and cough a day before and me and hubby decided not. Glad you've had no problems and I am in complete agreement with you about the contradiction - exactly how I feel.


    Complain about this comment

  • 84. At 09:33am on 22 Oct 2009, yorkshireshaz wrote:

    Welcome back Skyline

    Complain about this comment

  • 85. At 09:41am on 22 Oct 2009, GillieBollie wrote:

    I've not commented for ages but have read the posts with interest and a sense of confusion! We had none of the strange postings when the level of cases dies down over the summer. The fact that these have started again makes me believe that as cases are rising once again people are becoming more concerned and looking for answers. Whilst I agree that some of the posts are scaremongering the way to deal with these is not to become rude and aggressive but rather to patiently point out the facts. Once people have the facts then I think these posts will start to die down again.

    My thoughts, for what they're worth, are as follows:

    1. My son went back to university a couple of weeks ago and so far there has been no mass outbreak where he is - last week was freshers week and so I did rather expect wide outbreaks and am interested in why this has not happened.
    2. My son and I may have had this flu as we were both sick for a few days over the holidays - it's frustrating not to know one way or the other.
    3. I am taking echinacea and sambucol every day which I hope will boost my immune system and am also starting to supplement my vitamin D3 intake.
    4. I am still rigidly washing my hands and using hand gel where this is not possible.
    5. I do agree with skyline that this not a virulent flu but I will be having my normal flu jab - not because I am particularly at risk but because I travel widely and do not want to be sick when I'm in far flung parts of the world.
    6. When the sf vaccine becomes more widely available I will also have that for the reasons outlined above.

    I was in London the other day and sitting in a cafe opposite someone who coughed and sneezed without putting anything in front of his face! I had a gentle word with him about this - he apologised and looked slightly ashamed.

    My elderly father (85) attends hospital three times a week for dialysis and I really hope that the doctors and nurses looking after him have the sf jab as he is very vulnerable.

    Meanwhile, let's continue to support each other through this forum - good to hear from some of the 'lurkers'!

    Complain about this comment

  • 86. At 09:51am on 22 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Delta, I found your post so moving, I know exactly how you felt because back in June/July I thought I would need to get antidepressants of some kind in order to be able to function in any way, I was so frightened. Thankfully this blog meant that I didn't need to, and now I really do feel okay. We're not going to be offered the vaccine for a while yet and we will decide at the time what to do because we should have a much clearer picture then of how the virs is behaving. If for any reason we were offered it now on the basis of need we would take it. You sound like such a great dad, your little Lucie is very lucky.

    Lurkingmum, thanks for your commenst re my girls' school. I had to send in a note today to say that my eldest hasn't done her homework, the last time I did this the teacher (a different one, she has a job share) shouted at her so I've had to make it clear that it is my decision if she doesn't do it, so if she has a problem she talks to me.

    Tinkerbell, part of me thinks I should be more pro-active but they are obviously used to deflecting this type of complaint. Am delighted though that a very determined friend of mine has just become parent governor, she will be very vocal against this. I would have stood myself but hope our kids won't be there for much longer.

    RogerEli, thank you, that is excellent news.

    Skyline, good to have you back, I really don't think you need bother with the scaremongers, it should be obvious from the new posts on here that you are the one that people listen to and that yours is the advice that is being taken. It really is important that you stick around, if you can, and give us the type of info and understanding that we simply can't get anywhere else. If people want to believe the turquoise shell suits (thanks for that, Bob!) then there are plenty of other places they can find that stuff. You are keeping people sane with your balanced, fact-based approach and you know how health anxiety ruins lives, whether that anxiety is for yourself or others, so really you have given many of us our lives back. Thank you.

    Complain about this comment

  • 87. At 10:17am on 22 Oct 2009, robbo wrote:

    angel and tinkerbelly, thankyou for your kind words, you to are a pair of diamonds, universalmum, i apologise if i sounded offhanded and indifferent about GB i hope your friend recovers soon, rogereli, thamkyou so much for posting your experiences with the trials, it has helped to make my mind up completely (i had my lingering doubts) about my family having the swine flu vaccine, skyline, please keep posting in this blog, i find your comments very reassuring, i am taking lucie for her saesonal flu shot today and i was a little nervous until i read what rogereli wrote,thankyou all, and be safe and take care

    Complain about this comment

  • 88. At 10:26am on 22 Oct 2009, Jen wrote:

    Skyline - wonderful that you're back-your posts are invaluable with your knowlege and understanding of medical matters not to mention your insider 'hotline'! They really do help answer a lot of questions that we can't get answers to because all national/international info released is generic and cannot hope to address individual anxieties. The way you care about absolute strangers is incredibly moving (I have a lump in my throat -no word of a lie).

    I've heard today of an asthmatic teacher in hospital from SF related breathing difficulties. Friends who are practising teachers have all told me, without exception, that they would have the vaccination in a heartbeat. If it was administered in school they would line with their pupils for it. Not to protect themselves, but to protect those that they teach, and to try to stop the children being scared of the process. I hope that healthcare and medical workers take the same view.

    I also read that children in special needs schools will be prioritised in Ireland following the sad deaths of 2 children in the same school. It's interesting that different governments appear to be prioritising slightly differently.

    Universalmum-a paediatric immunologist sounds perfect-if you can't get an NHS appointment, a private consult may be the answer if the doc has a private practice. That way you will see the specialist in person, and they can get you in the NHS system afterwards. My blood tests cost over £700, consult £200. If you need my doc, his initials are MI and he works at Cromwell Hospital. Hope you get somewhere. I did also read that a study is underway for alternative ways of irradicating the malaria parasite - chocolate being one of them. It was an article on Monday-the research is being done in the UK. As a chocolate addict I would love this as a treatment!

    Complain about this comment

  • 89. At 10:46am on 22 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Delta, my daughter has a little friend who has seasonal flu shots every year because he is asthmatic and he's fine with them, never had any problems. Hope it all goes well.

    Tiger, yes I agree, isn't it odd that people can't see that Skyline is s angry because he wants to keep people safe? We've had so much luxury in this country of apparently being able to dismiss vaccines, we haven't needed to rely on them to save lives like those in poorer countries do. Well, its time to wake up because we all rely on vaccination to be safe, not just sf but whooping cough, polio (as Yoorkshire has told us) and rubella to name a few. Those who reject them are fortunate to benefit from the herd immunity created by those who do.

    Re special schools, I would guess that many pupils woul dhave underlying health issues, so prioritising not only them but their teachers and fellow pupils makes a great deal of sense. But we have so few special schools now, my daughters' school has quite a few pupils with quite severe health problems and I hope that they get the jab soon because conditions at the school aren't great, particlarly in terms of overcrowding.

    Gillie, I'm not seeing sf here either, although my kids have bene off as have others, it's being referred to as a virus or 'something going around'. I have found people reluctant to talk about or even use the words 'swine flu' so maybe it is around and people are in denial. Or maybe it's just so mild no-one is noticing! I went into London last nght and there was no real fuss being made, no handgel in evidence and people still kissing friends and shaking hands.

    Complain about this comment

  • 90. At 11:32am on 22 Oct 2009, GillieBollie wrote:

    I guess that we normally have so many viruses going round at this time of the year that many of us are just getting on with things - particularly true at schools and universities.

    I understand that Skyline is angry about many of these posts but my concern is that the tone of some of his posts may actually put concerned people off posting. I got a little angry on this blog a while ago and got told off for it! The best way to deal with the scaremongering people is to give out the facts in a controlled but dispassionate way.

    On a completely different subject I will be watching Questiontime tonite when the BNP guy will be on it. We need to hear what he has to say without getting angry or emotional. My hope is that he will be allowed his airtime tonite as this will then show all BNP supporters what they are all about and may stop some of them from voting for this vile party. If he is not allowed to air his views or is yelled at by people then this may only further their appalling cause.

    Complain about this comment

  • 91. At 11:55am on 22 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Gillie, the BBC has no option but to give the BNP a QT slot and I think they are right to do so, as you say, the more people hear his views the more repelled people will be. There is another reason. too. Right now the BNP have an aura of 'cool' about them, they are forbidden and that can have a bit of glamour. It will be good to have Nick Griffin on QT becuase he isn't actually very bright or cool and does not have the intellectual capacity to hold his own on QT. I'm looking forward to watching it as I think it will be deeply embarassing for him and anyone who has ever supported him. The best way to deal with people like Griffin is to have a good laugh at them.

    Complain about this comment

  • 92. At 12:50pm on 22 Oct 2009, GillieBollie wrote:

    Totally in agreement. I will be on my sofa with my cup of tea watching it! Intellectually NG is not strong as you say and he will show himself and his party up. What I really fear however is that whenever he tries to speak he will be shouted down by the audience and no-one who votes for him will be able to see his lack of argument and the fact that his party is racist. David Dimbleby has a tough job tonite but I'm sure he's up to it!

    Complain about this comment

  • 93. At 6:18pm on 22 Oct 2009, greekmother wrote:

    I think the matter is not treated correctly in UK. Having an experience with my daughter who is studying in UK and got sick (dont know if it was the swine flu since she was not tested)the GP did not even examined her telling her to go home and if she is not well after seven days then she must go again. Of course after seven days it is definite that somebody would need hospitalization and the hospitals would be crowded.It would be better if sick people with heavy coughs were examined and perhaps given antibiotics before it is too late and suffer more severe complications.Students are also pressured by their professors not to miss classes and if they are not tested then they have to go to their classes and transmit it to others. It looks like a mess for which some unlucky people will pay since it is not treated seriously.

    Complain about this comment

  • 94. At 7:59pm on 22 Oct 2009, SkylineOnFire wrote:

    Latest news.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8321202.stm

    Cases of swine flu have doubled from last week in the UK. This is the second peak. And look! The worst case scenario number of fatalities this winter has been dropped AGAIN, to 1000! So we are now looking at a season that is 9 times weaker than the regular winter seasons. Hmm.... Who was saying all this a month ago? Im not trying to blow my own trumpet but its exactly as i pointed out before, completely weak.

    This quote from Donaldson is amusing to me.... i quote from the article,

    "But it is the rate of admission to these specialist beds which is causing particular concern.
    During the summer, about 1 in 10 patients in hospital with swine flu ended up in critical care, compared with one in five now. Sir Liam Donaldson, the government's chief medical officer, said the pattern emerging on intensive care wards was "mystifying". There are no signs the flu strain has mutated to become more deadly - indeed the latest worst-case scenario for total deaths over the winter has been reduced from 19,000 to 1,000."

    I mean.... Really Donaldson? You think thats"mystifying?"

    I can answer this. Less people are going to hospital with sniffles, because people, and the media to some extent, have realized this is an incredibly mild virus, which is going to cause far less deaths than a normal season of flu. So the only people going to hospital now are genuinely ill with swine flu or flu related illness, rather than the crowds of worried well who were attending hospitals all summer and autumn. How is this mystifying in the slightest? Quite worrying considering your in such a senior position.....

    This second peak, in my opinion (bear in mind my opinions actually have a lot of thought and source put into them, check my prior posts over the past few months and see how many times i, and the science and expertise behind me, were right.) In my opinion.... This peak will be slightly less severe than the last. Slight herd immunity, combined with a more sensible approach by the media and the "experts" they get on their shows, means there will be less worried people claiming to have SF, and less genuine cases due to the partial herd immunity. I could be wrong, as always. Just my opinion.

    Figures i received this morning from a friend, he states that he believes a good 3 million people have had symptomatic swine flu in the UK, and another 3 million have been exposed but have also been asymptomatic, (research in the southern hemisphere shows up to 75 percent of infections prove to be asymptomatic) thats already a lot of immunity in the population. Especially sine the first few million people who caught SF, were the ones most likely to have caught it due to their work or education, and they wont be catching it again. They were the "super spreaders" so to speak. Now they are immune, the virus will travel a lot slower.

    Again, may be wrong and sorry if i sound "egotistical" to the "theorists" here. I have some boiled cat fur with scent of ginseng you might be interested to cure that....

    Oh and i dont think anyone should trust the figure we get every week with the new number of cases too much. The figure will be an underestimate every week, but its valuable in seeing the rise and fall of cases, which is accurate, its just the figures arent that reliable. Again, underestimation.

    My personal figures, what i believe are the total infections in different regions of the world, as of now.

    Australia - population around 20 million. Conservative estimate cases, 30% of population. Thats around 6 million cases in Australia alone.

    South America - Population 385 million. Its hard to estimate how many cases as they arent exactly first world nations. But i've heard up to 50 percent of Brazilians have caught SF, so we should go with around 40 percent of all South Americans as a good baseline. So thats... Around 150 million cases.

    Cant work on any others right now, i have a meeting this evening then its time to watch good ol nick griffin make a fool of himself on question time. Any questions? (i dont like writing that incase i get accused of being elitist and bossy)

    Complain about this comment

  • 95. At 8:28pm on 22 Oct 2009, luv_n_haight wrote:

    1) Interesting and reassuring post as ever Skyline, however the bit about the quote from the report:

    "about 1 in 10 patients in hospital with swine flu ended up in critical care, compared with one in five now"

    isn't really explained in your response. These are people in hospital WITH swine flu. They're not people with sniffles self-diagnosing, they're people seriously ill enough to be hospitalised, at which point I presume they carry out tests to know for sure whether someone has swine flu or not. So for some reason, more of these people appear to be getting more seriously ill. Weirdly though, I think the same article says that the death rate has NOT increased, which seems quite odd.


    2) On another note, isn't it half-term next week? Should offer a slight respite in the doubling, or at least a weeks' grace, anyway.


    3) Is anyone a bit cynical about the fact that, on the week the vaccine is being made available, way more details seem to have been made public about the people dying from SF? Seems like a strategy designed to encourage the uptake to me (I'm not anti-vaccine, by the way).

    Complain about this comment

  • 96. At 8:44pm on 22 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Cheers for that, Skyline, that makes a great deal of sense. I suspect why Liam Donaldson doesn't want to dwell too much on the high admissions to hospital in the earlier peak is that many A&E's admit people that they know don't really need to go in to keep the waiting time figures within what the Govt. require. Donaldson can't have those figures scrutinised too closely because Govt. policy is responsible for at least some of them.

    Given that we have partial herd immunity do you see this outbreak lasting into March as is being suggested? And do you think it will still be around next winter?

    I did also thnk it is strange to hear the Chief Medical Officer refer to sf as 'tragic' because many of its victims are young. I think the cost to society can be greater, and for the families involved it is almost certainly more painful, but more tragic? So the usual mass deaths of the elderly from seasonal flu isn't tragic then? Maybe a layman could be entitled to that opinion but I'm not sure it is one he should voice out loud.

    Complain about this comment

  • 97. At 8:54pm on 22 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    To clarify what I think has happened, luv (if I may call you that!), I suspect that back in July there were loads of 'worried well' turing up at A&E. Government policy is that someone can only be in A&E for a set time (think it's 6 hrs but I may be wrong) before they either need to be seen and admitted or sent home. Someone might not quite be ready to go home and so will be admitted when they don't really need to be, in order to keep the figures within what is acceptable to the Government - I have a friend who works in A&E and she says that much of her time is taken up with this type of figure fiddling. Add to this the fact that people were worried about sf (on this blog people talked about A&E depts. being unsure what to do) so there was probably some admissions that were overcautious. Then the weather has turned, and people with some underlying conditions will always be more prone to illness/complications in the cold.

    Complain about this comment

  • 98. At 9:01pm on 22 Oct 2009, SkylineOnFire wrote:



    Luv and Haight. - My point was that people were going into hospital a lot more in the summer/autumn WITH swine flu, than there are now. Now people tend to not go to hospital with it as its recognized as a mild virus. So they dont go to hospital. Only the very sick are going to hospital now, instead of before, when lots of sick people and very sick people were going. Understand what i mean? The vast majority of "hospital admissions" in summer/autumn with swine flu were definitely not sick enough to warrant hospitalization they were just worried. Those people arent going to hospital anymore, only the genuinely very ill ones are... So its obvious the numbers will increase.



    Angelscomeinthrees - To me, age doesn't matter. I value every life equally, irrespective of age, sex, race or religion. Donaldson is allowed his opinion but... To somehow elevate younger people as more valuable than older people, when you are in his position, and to the mass media, is irresponsible in my opinion.

    It wont be around next winter in my opinion and il tell you why. The virus has no capability to mutate into something worse on its own, as it lacks the genetic makeup needed, it doesnt have the correct proteins etc.. Therefore it cant do anything on its own. It also hasnt got any chance to combine with another virus at the moment. Since tests have shown it doesnt merge with any other circulating influenza virus, it merely dominates it. By next year herd immunity is guaranteed. So i suspect it will be business as usual. Wether seasonal flu will consist of swine flu, and the other usual strains, i dont know. I doubt it.




    Anyway, in 10 to 15 years time influenza wont be an issue for anyone. Even the elderly.

    Complain about this comment

  • 99. At 9:09pm on 22 Oct 2009, luv_n_haight wrote:

    Angel and Skyline, both those explanations make sense, nice one. Yep, you might've thought Sir Liam might've known that. Perhaps they have a policy of not speculating on things like that to the media unless they know it for a proven fact. LOL, having said that, they speculated on 65,000 deaths, so... :-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 100. At 10:09pm on 22 Oct 2009, Questionsaplenty2 wrote:

    Hi everyone... hope its Ok to chip in..

    I very much appreciate all the positive posts in the light of the scary media stories around. I do have one question re the theories posted by Angel & Skyline:

    It makes sense that only the sick people are now going to hospital rather than anybody who is scared they have H1N1. However, Liam Donaldson is also quoted in that report as saying we have more filled critical beds at present than at any time during the first wave. How does that equate to us having a lower peak second time round as discussed in the theory above? Many thanks.

    Skyline - I love your statistics by the way - I've been trying to reassure myself in a similar manner about chances of "surviving this" before I found this blog (I have HA like many others), but without all the info you seem to have.They do make me feel better. Much appreciated!

    I hate all this wondering whether we've had it or not. There are 4 of us in my family & all had completely different bugs last week, all very different. I wish I knew whether any or more than one of us had the dreaded SF!

    Complain about this comment

  • 101. At 00:25am on 23 Oct 2009, universalmum wrote:

    Delta you didn't sound offhand at all about GB syndrome, all I wanted to point out was that my friend got it as a result of flu not any vaccine, and and that it has affected him for nearly six months now, so I just wanted to clarify "temporary".

    Tigerjayj I haven't yet taken you up on looking up your doc, because I got in touch with the Immunology Service at Great Ormond Street this pm and they have said they will accept a referral from my GP so now I just have to see if I can get my GP to couch it in the correct terms - I think I could probably do a better referral letter than him so we will just see tomorrow at the appointment, but I think in any event I will be making the case out to the GP that my daughter should have the vaccination because she has had a phlegmy cough on and off for three weeks now since she initially got an innocuous cold and despite the entirely rational view that the incidence of severity of sf is quite low I do believe that she could be more vulnerable if she got it. I also admit this opinion may well just be health anxiety for my daughter, but I cannot help but have this. Another totally opposing part of me has great faith in the immune boosting properties of sambucol and I observe her continuing well and fit. Does anybody who is taking vitamin D3 know if you can give it to children, and in what dose? Is it another good immune booster?

    Oh finally for tonight Tigerjayj, I can't imagine the malaria parasite succumbing to chocolate; I will look at that research over the weekend with more time, but in any event we had to make sure all the parasites were eliminated from her body as she had the potentially fatal strain and the only way available at the time she had it in Mozambique was being treated with some throughly nasty chemicals to stop the parasites reproducing.
    LOL to all and as ever this all keeps me sane. Was a good bit of light relief watching QT tonight, and I think he got a pasting.

    Complain about this comment

  • 102. At 07:51am on 23 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Skyline - totally agree about every life being equally valuable, I find Donaldson's comments quite scarey. I guess the idea that he is trying to get the vaccination rate up might be the explanation but it was still a very crass thing to say.

    Questionsaplenty, sorry, you need Skyline for your question, not me! However, I do have a feeling based on no actual knowledge whatsoever that the weather will play a part.

    Universalmum, I suggest you thoroughly research the D3 thing, it has not been proven safe in high doses and no-one knows what the 'safe' limit actually is. It is of course up to you and obviously some people are sure it works, but I would get your daughter out into the real thing - sunlight - even on a cloudy day, so long as it is not damp and she's wrapped up. Even playing by a sunny window will help. Also you might want to consult either a registered medical herbalist or an aromatherapist for plant-based immune system boosters, at least until she gets offered the vaccine.

    That must have been petrifying when your daughter got malaria, so glad to hear she's recovered.

    Complain about this comment

  • 103. At 11:32am on 23 Oct 2009, Questionsaplenty2 wrote:

    Thanks angels - I suppose to clarify my question (and hopefully skyline will have an answer in his theory)...what I can't get my head around is how a second peak might be lower than the first since the number of critical cases already seems to be higher than before and yet the H1N1 has not mutated into anything more serious. The record in critical care bed use already, to me implies that maybe more people overall in the country have it now than truly estimated and that as skyline says they are in the main just "getting on with it". But it makes me wonder whether the infection rate is actually much much higher than the first peak already.

    Angels - we could blame the weather for the increased % in critical care but to be honest the weather hasn't been that bad really yet. I'm wondering what other factors might affect it. Otherwise perhaps we just have massive under-reporting of it second time around due to people accepting its mildness in the main.

    Skyline - I agree with you that the UK figures cannot be that accurate except to show peaks & troughs. If anything, round here certainly, I think fewer people are bothering to even report it to the docs than first time round but also I know several people earlier on who called the fluline & were diagnosed as probably having it (& offered Tamiflu) but actually they were pretty sure in the end they just had a minor cold. Now they just wouldn't bother calling.

    Complain about this comment

  • 104. At 12:19pm on 23 Oct 2009, luv_n_haight wrote:

    Questionsaplenty2, I think you answered your own question. These modelled figures will have to rely on people making some contact with the NHS in some form (flu line, GP, NHS Direct) for them to ripple through to the stats. The fear over swine flu is much lower now than it was in the previous peak in July, so more and more people are getting it "silently" and not counting towards the figures.

    I doubt the modelling is sophisticated enough for them to know enough to allow for this factor when coming up with estimates. Purely going by deaths the chances are then that we might now have the same levels we had during the July "peak".

    Complain about this comment

  • 105. At 1:49pm on 23 Oct 2009, Questionsaplenty2 wrote:

    Yes luv I am thinking this is the case but I am wondering about what skyline said about a lower second peak and whether there is another reason I might have missed.

    Well we have had 4 (seemingly different) bugs in my household in a week. Illness has struck early this year. Hopefully these things will all burn themselves out before Xmas so we can all enjoy a worry-free Xmas! SF worry wrecked my summer this year - just want to relax now.

    Hoping half-term will slow the spread a bit too!

    Complain about this comment

  • 106. At 10:39pm on 23 Oct 2009, ozymandias wrote:

    Sorry Skyline I think you are wrong. Not as wrong as Donaldson though. So much of this outbreak is reminiscent of 1918. Mild first wave severe second wave. Donaldson has dithered over the vaccination, let EU buerocracy delay the delivery, failed to close schools where the main spread occurs and exposed all of us to risks. For every one of you who will not take the vaccine, I say great, it moves me one place up the queue. This needs to be rolled out to the whole population, and the sooner the better. Or we could face hundreds of thousands of deaths.

    Complain about this comment

  • 107. At 11:30pm on 23 Oct 2009, SkylineOnFire wrote:

    Oh ozymandias.... Really? Really?

    How is this reminiscent of 1918? The 1918 "spanish influenza" was a completely different virus to the spring 1918 flu.... Really? You arent going to research a thing then your going to post this? The "swine flu" cant even possibly mutate into a more severe form on its own... It lacks the correct proteins etc... Where will it get those from? Thin air? Im afraid virology doesnt work like that. It could re assort with other flu viruses.... But... There are none it is able to do this with. It merely overcomes seasonal flu viruses, and the chances of it combining with bird flu, or H5N1 are slim to none.

    Please Please bring some science into your post and tell me HOW the virus is reminiscent in the slightest to the fall 1918 "spanish influenza". And PLEASE give me some facts behind your post.

    And your attitude regarding vaccines is incredibly selfish and shows the kind of person you are from far off. "il take what i can and i dont give a damn"..... Shame thats the British ethic these days. Oh well.

    We wont face hundreds of thousands of deaths from this virus. Its simply impossible. We wont face thousands.... The worst case scenario this winter is 1000 deaths, 9 TIMES LESS THAN AN AVERAGE FLU SEASON.

    You have zero science behind your post do you. Please.. Inform me of you do. As i cant see it friend.......




    Complain about this comment

  • 108. At 00:07am on 24 Oct 2009, Lurkingmumoftwo wrote:

    Skyline I am so very pleased you are still posting. Thankyou so much for keeping everything in perspective for me and many others. Your words make so much sense and are obviously backed by research and facts.

    Complain about this comment

  • 109. At 00:29am on 24 Oct 2009, SkylineOnFire wrote:

    Its not even like this stuff is hard to find scientific knowledge. Its been in all the mass media, and a bit of googling finds you everything you need to know.

    I guess people who are naturally pessimistic like our friend, Ozymandias, dont think to look for the positives. And his selfish attitude rather frankly disgusts me. I'd give my vaccine to someone who has more chance of getting very ill or dying, no matter what the disease, in a second. Not sure why he wouldnt feel the same. Selfishness is humanities downfall.

    Complain about this comment

  • 110. At 07:39am on 24 Oct 2009, universalmum wrote:

    Angel don't worry I will research the D3 thing thoroughly. I had just noticed that some people on here have mentioned that they will be taking it to boost immunity, so thought it might be another thing to add to our armoury. I found an Echinacea product that kids can take yesterday so am going to look into that, although I've also heard that you shouldn't take Echinacea over long period as a preventative but just as a short term thing to minimise infection effects. Apparently it boosts white cell counts. (yeah malaria was the most frightening thing ever, but no need to discuss tht in detail here, needs a separate forum)
    Saw the GP yesterday, listened to her chest, says perfectly normal to have phlemgy cough for up to a month after cold, nothing wrong with her and he will not give any indication that she will be vaccinated. He says he will follow the government advice which is the priority groups first. But what about younger people being harder hit I ask. No, can only follow government advice he says. Have no vaccine yet anyway, he mentions it coming in the post (ha ha), and when I say I've heard that other parents are going to get their children vaccinated he can't tell me how that's possible unless they are in priority groups. I ask about obtaining the vaccine privately, he says not his decision but defers to senior Dr at the practice. He says he does think the government wil eventually decide to vaccinate all children, but when, how are just questions no one can answer now. He says he gets 2-3 emails from the HPA every week on sf so he is updated.
    He will not refer her for immunology testing, but suggests (which he stresses he thinks is not necessary) blood tests at local hospital paediatric dept to do white blood cell count,organ function etc, so now we have to decide if we do that or just go private straight to immunology or we decide that to all intents and purposes she is a strong healthy child who will not succumb to sf any more likely than anything else and try to stop worrying about the (slim?) chance of anything worse happening. I have just been reading the reports from WHO and CDC about increase in global cases and deaths and although slight in Europe, more in America, they worry me as always.
    Can't juggle statistics in my head like some posters here can do, and it seems to be as contradictory as ever, although thanks skyline and others here for debating these I will keep rereading to try to make sense.

    Complain about this comment

  • 111. At 08:30am on 24 Oct 2009, Questionsaplenty2 wrote:

    skyline - I was wondering whether you could expand on the lower second wave theory as per my posts to you above.

    Many thanks

    Complain about this comment

  • 112. At 08:36am on 24 Oct 2009, Questionsaplenty2 wrote:

    Universalmum - I've been taking Vit D (I think it's D3 but the Boots label isn't very clear!)as I ususally catch everything going - I'm not sure of doses for kids though. I've also been taking garlic and when we were all sick last week, dosed everyone up with sambucol (supposedly a natural antiviral), vitC & zinc. I just give my secondary school kids a multivitamin suitable for their age at the moment, but they are healthy eaters. I have also heard about echinacea not being good to take all the time & so I reserve using it for when we actually come down with something (though last week I didn't use it).

    Complain about this comment

  • 113. At 09:27am on 24 Oct 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Hi everyone,
    I have been a bit busy and so I have not had time to blog. This morning I had a chance to do a bit of research and this is what I found on Croftblogs.
    Concerning adjuvants:
    The Canadian vaccine contains squaline (shark liver oil) which has been the subject of numerous studies because of its amazing health benefits. ;-)
    The vaccine also contains DL-alpha tocopherol (vitamine E) which also gets rid of your wrinkles ;-)
    The vaccine also contains polysorbate 80 an emulsifier (thickens it) This stuff is used in ice cream making. Yummy, make mine a toffee chip and vanilla. ;-)

    I don't know what adjuvants are used in the Brit vaccine but I expect it is pretty similar to the Canadian vaccine.

    So, with these immune boosting properties, why are the Shawn-of-the-Dead-brigade allowed to keep up their farce? It got to a point where I almost believed them and I think it is unfair of them to frighten people just to get their kicks.

    hope you are all keeping well ;-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 114. At 10:13am on 24 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Thanks again, Skyline. Those poor people in 1918, how unlucky were they?Imagine surviving the trenches only to see your loved ones succumb to flu, or to die from it yourself. What a terrible thing.

    I've seen nothing that makes me think this virus is behaving remotely like any other. And how ever little faith I have in our authorities, I think even they would spot the likelihood of this flu killings hundreds of thousands of people if it existed.

    Re echinacea, during times of wellness the way to take it is for three days each week, so for example Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Only increase the dose to daily during illness, but don't take it once an illness has taken hold. It can also be used daily post-illness for a boost. However, bear in mind that phytomedicine is powerful so don't mix and match; if you are using sambucol, stick to that. NIMH- registered medical herbalists may recommend a blend of herbs but they are experts and for young children should be consulted before giving a mix of herbal medicines. I've said it before, a really good way of getting the benefits from herbs such as garlic is to use them in cooking every day, herbs such as sage and thyme also have antibacterial properties and are safe even for pregnant women, who can't take herbal medicines.

    Universalmum, re the blood test, my daughter has needed these and frequently showed that she had a low white blood cell count. Her paeditrician eventually got some normal results for her, and what had been happening was that every time she'd been tested she'd been unwell and so had a low count. You need to be aware that if your daughter has even so much as a sniffle when she has her blood test, it may show a low white blood count and you will need to have repeated tests to see if it is ever normal, and during the winter finding a window when a young child isn't fighting off something or other can be very difficult. FWIW my GP is of the opinion that the Govt. are unlikely to roll out the vaccnation programme to the population as whole except for those who actually want the vaccine. With regards to the cough, my GP has said in the past that some of these snotty, throaty coughs can keep on for a couple of months, particularly at night. Do you keep the air in her room moist?

    Great post, Grannie, glad to see you back.:-) Hope you and yours are well, too.

    Complain about this comment

  • 115. At 10:16am on 24 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Sorry, my advice re echinacea doesn't read very clearly. During the flu season, if you are well, take it three times/week. If you then think you are coming down with something, or flu is in your household, increase it to daily. But if you don't already take it at a maintenence level, don't suddenly start taking it once you get ill as its action isn't suitable; instead start taking it post-illness to boost your immune system back up. HTH.

    Complain about this comment

  • 116. At 10:26am on 24 Oct 2009, ozymandias wrote:

    Don't misrepresent me Skyline, I never said, and I don't believe, that the vaccine should be denied to people at risk, but if people who are at risk are so stupid, and quite frankly selfish, that they refuse it, or even worse dither over whether and when they will have it, then I will willing accept that this means people further down the queue, such as me, get it sooner. Hopefully the government will now get its skates on and we will all have it before it is too late.

    As to the history, I can't quote you a peer-reviewed article, though I will look, but from what is on public websites I see no evidence to support your assertion that the March 1918 epidemic in Kansas and elsewhere was not H1N1 as the deadly autumn epidemic was. It may not have been firmly established as such, as we all know how difficult it was to establish the nature of the autumn strain. However it does seem likely.

    Complain about this comment

  • 117. At 11:07am on 24 Oct 2009, robbo wrote:

    ozymandias, this is nothing like the 1918 'spanish influenza', the only reason it's called spanish influenza was because they where the only country open about having the flu, secondly if you knew anything about the 1918 strain you would realise that the first case was actually in 1916 on a british transit base on the frontline in europe, us clever brits decided that to streamline our logistics we put piggerys and chicken pens on the base with the men, they didn't know what is was then so they labelled it 'purelant bronchitis',with the soldiers already suffering inflammation of the throat from mustard gas, and there immune systems being low from battle stress, they made exceptionally easy targets which meant that it spread through them like wildfire, in 1918 it jumped into the civilian population and the 'first wave' was far more devestating than our first wave, and then in the summer months in 1918 it dissapeared completely,which this strain hasn't done, and then came back with a vengence 3 weeks later, it got so bad in the second wave the streets in this country where littered with coffins because there was no one well enough to bury the dead, in berlin alone it was killing 90,000 people a week, so this is nothing like the 1918 outbreak, also many scientists have said that this strain lacks the genes associated with the virulance of the 1918 strain, trust me mate if this was 1918 all over again, you would know about it, i know how you feel, even though i know better my mind keeps wandering back to 1918, but believe me, it's not going to go down that way this time,it's not good obviously,but it's not as bad as 1918.

    Complain about this comment

  • 118. At 11:27am on 24 Oct 2009, ozymandias wrote:

    Thats the Etaples theory, supported by John Oxford, the Kansas theory is due to Alfred Crosby. There is also an Austrian origin theory. But in Etaples, Kansas or Austria, it was nowhere near as deadly as it became in autumn 1918. Nobody believes that it originated in Spain.

    What is not clear to me is whether people who had flu in Spring 1918 were then immune in in autumn 1918. Anecdote suggests that they were not, but this is not evidence. It also isn't clear whether such a lack of immunity would also apply to those vaccinated with a vaccine developed from the earlier virus. Maybe those of you who are virologists might comment.

    Skyline and Delta, I hope you are right I really do. Its may even be likely that you are right. But the government should not be in the business of hoping for the best.

    Complain about this comment

  • 119. At 11:57am on 24 Oct 2009, robbo wrote:

    ozymandis, i hope i am right as well mate, because despite the optomistic outlook, i am still terrified of this virus reaching my children, especially my liitle lucie, she has asthma and isn't generally as strong as other children anyway, also in 1918 it may be a case that people where slightly immune to the virus, but in times of war everyone is very stressed, and a stressed persons immune system is impaired.stay safe all and take care

    Complain about this comment

  • 120. At 5:18pm on 24 Oct 2009, timbob1001 wrote:

    A lot of info is being thrown up here about 1918 and the impact of the so-called Spanish flu. Few comparisons stand against the current situation.

    The Spanish flu had such an impact in Europe directly as a cause of the war. The civil population of the Central Powers - Imperial Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire - were already on the brink of starvation thanks to the voracious demand of the military for food/resources and the impact of the economic blockade imposed by the Entente on land and also at sea primarily by the Royal Navy. The war itself had already wrecked agricultural production and few supplies were coming in from defeated Imperial Russia. A deadly combination of lack of food and exhaustion after four long years of war was a lethal cocktail onto which was added this new disease and the complications that ensued.

    The UK and Entente population in general was better off in terms of food supplies, but it too was exhausted by the demands of war.

    Remember - this was a pre-antibiotic era . The complications that we can now treat were deadly and other means of ventilating the lungs of the seriously ill were non-existent.



    Complain about this comment

  • 121. At 8:17pm on 24 Oct 2009, TahirZaheer wrote:

    Swine Flue____ A National, Regional, inter-regional & Global Challenge :

    By TAHIR ZAHEER - COO (Global Business Division) - SEFEC " (www.sefec-engg.com)

    Swine Flu_____the virus is usually contracted through direct contact with pigs, but Joseph Domenech, chief of animal health at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, said all indications were that the said viral disease is being spread through human-to-human transmission.

    What to do immediately, is that to pass by laws of a strong ban on Eating Meat of Pig.

    Secondly, immediate campaign have to be launched for awareness of the said "bio-terror" & preventions with anti-virus drugs and vaccinations as well.

    Let we broad our vision such as not to hesitate to take, anything GOOD from any else, from any place, from any nation, from any region or any religion, for for our national R&D excellences, so that to practice the best of the best results within our societies.

    Complain about this comment

  • 122. At 9:24pm on 24 Oct 2009, yorkshireshaz wrote:

    Full English breakfast for me in the morning mmmmmmm bacon and eggs, you cant catch swine flu from eating pork!

    Complain about this comment

  • 123. At 9:39pm on 24 Oct 2009, BobRocket wrote:

    #121 TahirZaheer

    Tahir, did you miss the bit about human-to-human transmission ?

    And you say that you are chief operation officer of an international engineering company, I suggest that you broaden your vision and do a bit more research before you post again.

    As #122 posted, you can't catch swine flu from eating pork.


    Complain about this comment

  • 124. At 10:05pm on 24 Oct 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    My 3 year old was coughing and spluttering for two weeks, thought she had got through a mild case of SF. Then yesterday, earache. Temp in the night, and then today 40 degrees and out of it. Ended up at the out of hours GP, told she has a bacterial infection probably brought on by previously having/ or having Swine flu. Flem on her right lung and ENT infection. Back tomorrow. Given antibiotics, tamiflu (which we wont be using) and lots of paracetemol. Her temperature has gone now, very scary earlier.
    I am so glad I didnt take her to have the MMR booster. I would have thought the temp was from that.

    Complain about this comment

  • 125. At 10:07pm on 24 Oct 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    Oz - I read that 70% of people who had caught influenza in the spring of 1918 fared better when they caught it again in the winter. So they did catch it again, just not as many died. If thats a true statistic is anyones guess.

    Complain about this comment

  • 126. At 11:08pm on 24 Oct 2009, universalmum wrote:

    Tinkerbell I hope your little one is OK and makes a full recovery. Poor thing. I admire your ability to pay attention and post here when you have such a serious health situation with her. Now I'm very concerned about getting children vaccinated, because they shouldn't be going through this severity of infection. I know you can get bacterial infections following on from flu but it's not something you want your kids to go through is it? I know nobody should have to go through this but it tips over into commonsense for kids to be vaccinated when you hear about serious cases like this. A friend of my daughter's has been off school since Tuesday with temperature and severe cough and I'm just glad of the brief respite we have over half term. I'm going to try my utmost to see about getting my girl vaccinated somehow - GP won't consider it (see my post no. 110 from earlier today) and I think to make a case out that she's immuno-compromised in some way would take too long. Angel I hear you on the blood tests and low white cell counts. I'm just going to focus on somehow getting her vaccinated. I'm also considering what to do about her going back to school in a week's time.

    Complain about this comment

  • 127. At 02:21am on 25 Oct 2009, Jen wrote:

    Tinkerbellbobby-so relieved you listened to your instincts re MMR vaccination, and I really hope your little one recovers well-what a fright you've all had.

    Universalmum-re blood tests-ask your doc to check your daughter's Immunoglobulins. I have an autoimmune condition, and 2 types of my immunoglobulins are steadily dropping. Whenever I catch a bug, I am wracked with joint and muscle pain once it gets a grip and end up unable to walk for several days. The bug itself is not the problem (I had a tummy bug at the beginning of the year and was only sick once, but my husband had to carry me upstairs to bed. For 3 days I was crawling to the bathroom!). In certain immunoglobulin-deficient syndromes, a transfusion can help.

    Daughter and hubbie recovering from a cold this week-I can feel it starting, so annoyed and worried at the same time-I do the very best I can to support my immune system through diet and supplements, and I am resting as much as I can. Trouble is, I don't want to moan at home-they've all seen me unwell for such a long time, I don't say anything unless it gets really bad-they must all be so fed up with it. Got a stock of paracetamol and cough medicine, and hope to head anything cold/flu-like off at the pass without antibiotics. Even got an inhaler refill last week just in case!

    Fingers crossed all the extra fresh fruit and veg will help! Don't think I'd have the SF vaccination at this moment for the same reason as Tinkerbell and the MMR.

    Complain about this comment

  • 128. At 08:09am on 25 Oct 2009, Jen wrote:

    I see that President Obama has declared a state of national emergency over SF in order to facilitate the access sick people have to treatment. Apparently it slims down paperwork and enables extra medical centres to be set up.

    Apparently, their vaccine is delayed, and even when it arrives the first batch is only 50 million doses, not the hundreds of millions doses originally expected. (sorry if I've messed up the English there-it doesn't sound right somehow!). If memory serves me correctly, they bought the stuff made in egg yolks I think, which has been a less effective growth medium than expected by all accounts.

    President Obama has also stayed the order to make vaccination compulsory for health workers. If I understand the article correctly (BBC World News RSS) it's because he's worried about the number of children who have died so far. (100 or so, according to the article). He is also worried that at least 20,000 people have been hospitalised because of SF, and wants people to have better access to medical services because of the delay in vaccine supplies.

    This just highlights, again, that no matter how much we moan about our NHS and government, at least we have a free medical service for everyone and our vaccine, although a long time coming, is here now.

    I do, however, have concerns at various odd reports suggesting that although 30 million doses were promised (roughly enough for the majority of the population), there will be a lot less delivered and no more to come. Wonder if you could look into this Fergus and find out if this is true, and if, why? My weird brain recalls a suggestion some months ago that there would be less vaccine available for countries without the manufacturers in residence....?

    Also, I still agree with Bob Rocket-it has taken far too ling to develop and manufacture vaccines for SF. Had this been something worse, like Avian Flu, the death toll and strain on medical services by now would have been terrifyingly eye watering. A very valuable lesson learned and one which I hope the WHO take the drug companies to task over. They were obviously not as well equipped for a pandemic as they may have thought.

    One last thing (a big woffle blog today-sorry)-I'm very proudindeed that it was a British team that isolated the components of the SF virus needed (not being scientifically trained I'm not sure that's exactly right) to produce a vaccine. Just goes to prove that not all the most talented people have left the country!

    Complain about this comment

  • 129. At 08:46am on 25 Oct 2009, yorkshireshaz wrote:

    Just a thought........ they said there would never be a black president and pigs might fly and what happened ........ swine flu.

    Complain about this comment

  • 130. At 10:05am on 25 Oct 2009, Lurkingmumoftwo wrote:

    Tinkerbell so sorry to hear about your little one; it must have been a very worrying time for you. I hope she is feeling a lot better now.

    I find all of this talk about the 1918 outbreak quite depressing and, although I am not one to hide away from the truth, I can't see a lot of point in worrying about similarities because so far, as far as my untrained eye can tell, there are very few.

    Personally I am trying to keep my family as healthy as possible and being very vigilant watching for signs. I am also comforted to know that the vast majority of cases are mild.

    Thanks for the post about the adjuvants granny. I must admit to having been a little concerned about them as ,I think I am right in saying, they are quite new science.

    In my opinion this is all we can do. When the vaccine is offered to us we will have a good knowledge base to make our decision; thanks to many of the bloggers on here and our own personal research.

    Take care X

    Complain about this comment

  • 131. At 11:07am on 25 Oct 2009, robbo wrote:

    tinkerbell, i hope your little one gets better soon, i admire your ability to stay calm in a situation like that, i would be climbing the wall with worry,it would appear that this virus leaves those that survive open to secondary infections,i hope you are all ok, be safe and tak care

    Complain about this comment

  • 132. At 1:10pm on 25 Oct 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    Thank you everyone for your best wishes - meant a lot.
    Thankfully, today she is right as rain. We went back to the Drs this morning they checked her lungs and the oxygen levels in her blood and they were back to normal. I am writing what happened so other people are aware of what to look out for incase their lil ones have the same thing.

    The Dr checked her ear initially and saw it was red raw, as was her throat. He then immed checked her lungs as said her right lung wasnt functioning properly at the bottom (about 10%). He thought that she'd possibly had SF and that this had increased the chances of the bacterial infection. He thought that she maybe had scratched her ear and the infection had got into her EN and throat and affected her lung. Her temperature came down a few hours after the antibiotics had been taken and now is completely normal. (Thank god for temperatures, else we wouldnt have known what was wrong)

    The Dr was marvellous (which contributed to my calmness) and said he had seen between 8-10 children last week with the same thing, so it is obviously quite common with this flu.

    So if your lil one does have a cough and a cold for a while and then gets a temperature, get them looked at. We thought it was earache and nothing more. Also, listen to Angel and use the antibacterial soap spray, it might not stop you catching SF but it will help to stop the nasty infections that occur with it.

    She is fine now and we have to just keep an eye on her breathing, but as it is obviously quite common, I thought I would post just to make other parents aware.

    Thank god for antibiotics, the NHS and the wonderful Drs.

    Complain about this comment

  • 133. At 1:13pm on 25 Oct 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    Oh and also, cut their fingernails short!!! lol XXXXX

    Complain about this comment

  • 134. At 4:28pm on 25 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Sorry, Tinkerbell, been away overnight - poor wee one and poor you, how you all doing? Antibiotics are wonderful things, as you know we've been through similar (although not with sf) and they do work incredibly quickly. Well done you for getting it sorted and for calling her MMR right. Re ear pain, once her temp is okay, warmth is really helpful, something like a wheat bag or hot water bottle. I would say to any parent to always get temps over 39 and sore ears/throats checked (over 38 for babies). Also agree re fingernails - also causes the spread of worms and impetigo - yuk!

    The news from the States has freaked me slightly, but actually I expect that it as Tiger says and is only to facilitate what we take for granted in our health service. Let's hope that the death rate starts to drop off there. Am still worried about the high number of child deaths in comparison to adults but then that is not being replicated everywhere.

    Lurkingmum, very sensible post.

    Universalmum, just a thought but we always have antibiotic dry mix in the house from our GP for our son's ears. It comes as a powder and we mix it with water whenever his ears flare up. You might feel better knowing that you have some in the house, maybe your GP could prescribe this for you and talk you through how to use it. Also (and I know Skyline won't approve, but there is scientific evidence to back this up) there are some aromatherapy oils that are strongly anti-bacterial. The best ones for wee ones are ravensara and eucalyptus radiata, you can also add lavender to aid sleep. Use about 2-3 drops in a room burner or (my favourite way) on a damp towel over a radiator, breathing it in will help fight infection, and you can also add one drop of oil to a cup of full-fat milk and add to a bath. Personally I don't mix oils for massage as I'm not qualified and leave that to those who are. I've said this before on here but it's worth repeating, and to keep Skyline happy I also repeat that this is an addition to allopathic medicine, not an alternative.

    Like Tinkerbell, I've also done the 40 degree temp more times than I woudl wish, and if anyone wants I'm happy to repeat the info I posted on here ages ago re dealing with a temp of over 39 in children (calpol, nurofen etc.). I'm also a Reiki Master (and looking more and more like Yoda every day, particularly re wrinkles) and will happily send out healing to anyone who asks.
    HTH

    Complain about this comment

  • 135. At 4:46pm on 25 Oct 2009, SkylineOnFire wrote:

    Can i just say one thing about hygiene etc... Its not really flu related.

    Its all well and good to make sure your kids clean their hands etc, but the best defense anyone can have, is a strong immune system. And you wont get that from keeping them spotless all their lives. I grew up in the mountains in wales, digging holes in mud, climbing trees, getting filthy, grubby, every day. And i never get sick. You should always let kids develop their own immune system. And thats the best way of doing it. Dirt and nature is necessary for building a natural immune system. This society of cleaning obsessively is just terrible. Its why there are so many kids getting ill all the time, being generally weak etc....

    Its your own choice at the end of the day, but i know my kids will be free to crawl and climb around in the dirt as much as they like, and i wont be ensuring they get washed down as soon as they are done either. Natural immune system is the most important thing to develop.

    Complain about this comment

  • 136. At 4:55pm on 25 Oct 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    Its not about that skyline, its about managing risk and if you know that an immune system is vulnerable due to a virus then that is the time to be aware - the rest of the year, I agree, let them play in the muck.

    Complain about this comment

  • 137. At 5:06pm on 25 Oct 2009, SkylineOnFire wrote:

    For sure, be cautious when necessary but kids have to be exposed to germs plenty to get a great immune system.

    Complain about this comment

  • 138. At 7:32pm on 25 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Skyline, I'm with you 100% with regards to dirt, my kids are always mucking about in the mud, also my house isn't exactly what you'd call spotless, I rarely use bleach and prefer straightforward hot soapy water to anything else. Another aside is that as a fan of 'The House of Tiny Tearaways' etc. I remember how many children with behaviour problems had parents who were obsessively clean - either they'd be cleaning all the time so they had no time to play, or they'd wipe every drop of food away so that the children got food anxiety. Having said that, we have a big problem with foxes in our village at the moment and our garden is full of fox droppings, with the associated risks - it is seriously gross as my children really do love digging about in the mud, and worm eggs can survive for months. Ugh!

    Tinkerbell, were you referring to hand gel in relation to myself? Because I agree with you too - at the moment I believe very much in copious handwashing, I do every winter, mainly because norovirus freaks me out, although I do prefer proper washing with water & soap rather than the gel, unless the former isn't available. I think frequent handwashing is more important where there are crowds, and particularly children, than I do where there is dirt, particularly at the moment.

    How are you & your little one doing at the moment?

    Complain about this comment

  • 139. At 7:34pm on 25 Oct 2009, eeeelondon wrote:

    I wonder if anyone can help - I am currently trying for a baby, and I would very much prefer to have the vaccination BEFORe I get pregnant rather than have a vaccine which hasn't been tested at all on pregnant women when I am pregnant. Do you think there's a chance my GP would give it to me in this situation? I very much doubt the receptionists at my surgery would agree, and I'm not sure how to get past them to the GPs themselves.

    Complain about this comment

  • 140. At 8:03pm on 25 Oct 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    Sorry Angel, I didnt have time to reply properly earlier.

    She is bouncing off the walls now, thank you for asking. Still being forced the antibiotics, no temp, but am still anxious incase anything comes back. Have to make an app with the GP tomorrow to get some more antibiotics as she threw up most of it yesterday (think that was more fury at being made to take it, than actually feeling sick!) and we dont have enough to last the full seven days. I realise now (didnt before) after reading this blog how important it is to complete the course. (Thanks guys!) We didnt give her the tamiflu so thats in the cupboard, thankfully, as now I think my dh is getting it. He hasnt moved off the couch all day and thats not like him at all and I remember feeling like that the first couple of days I had it - then full blown fatigue!!
    I keep trying to get him to take it, but he wont. lol

    I would certainly appreciate you listing that info re teperatures in kids again, if only for future purposes. I dont know how you keep calm if that keeps happening Angel. I was thinking about all the people who do not have access to antibiotics yesterday a lot. When I went to get the prescription I went to four pharmacies. Two were closed for lunch, a well known high street chemist didnt even have any in stock and thankfully the last one did. Imagine not being able to access them at all. I was so desperate to just get the medicine into her little body, I ran into the last chemist and told the poor girl behind the counter to check they had it in stock before I wasted any more time! lol

    I was pointing out that you were right about the hand gel as I was scoffing about how useless it was last week. lol.

    How are your lil ones? I hope everyone on here and their loved ones are well. Its a worrying time, but kids are amazingly strong and I cannot believe how much she has bounced back considering the Dr said she would be groggy for about 24-36 hours.

    I have also known childre with asthma come through SF without so much as a backward glance, and someone else I know who has already had pneumonia twice this year and also has emphasema (sorry, dont know how to spell it) and has got better. So I guess in most cases, it is mild.

    Skyline, I have just read your recent posts. Am glad you are back. you are a joy to read and your posts always reasure.

    Hope everyone is well. Thanks for asking AngelXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    Complain about this comment

  • 141. At 8:53pm on 25 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Tinkerbell, we always resort to naked bribery when it comes to meds. You can either give an instant reward in the form of a sweet (don't laugh but hariboos are really soothing for a sore throat) or do a sticker chart, whichever you think she will respond to best. Glad she's on the mend, bad luck re dh. Really sounds like you've had sf now!

    Lol at being right about hand gel, I doubt it would have stopped your little one's infection, bless her. Tell you what can be a problem, rubbing snot in varous places - my son got conjunctivitis from rubbing snot in his eyes. We use basic wet wipes for clean-ups when children aren't going to make it from the sofa to the bathroom for handwashing.

    I'm not calm when my kids get temps, but you just have to get on with it, as you know! Okay, temps. If a child gets a v. high temp (I woudl say over 38.7 but it depends on your child's normal temp - it may be higher or lower) you need to use both calpol and nurofen, unless contra-indicated. I'm assuming that in this situation anyone has seen their GP, been told it is viral or been given antibiotics and has been told to go home. Get a sheet of paper and write out every hour for the next 24-48 hrs. Give nurofen, then write it next to the current time. Next, work out eight hrs time, as that is when the next dose should be due, and then the next eight hrs. Then slot in four doses of calpol around that, with six hr spaces. You will find that you have to get up and check temps in the night and give meds, but with a really high fever this is vital not only to keep on top of the temp but for your child's safety - to make sure they are not developing meningitis or similar. If necessary you can give the doses closer (4 hrly for calpol and 4-6 hrly for nurofen) but there is a limit to how many you can give in a 24 hr period and you need to ensure you have something to give at regular intervals. Many GPs will advise stripping off and cool sponging/bathing but the (very highly rated) hospital that treated my daughters told us that in younger children this can encourage fitting and they no longer do it. Instead they go with the stripping off and recommend using an oscillating fan, moving so that it isn't fixed directly on your child. If not on antibiotics you should use this for at leats 24 hrs once there is sign of improvement because temps can quickly climb again. To some extent a slight temp isn't a bad thing as the heat is working to kill the bugs, but a child with a high temp will quickly become dehydrated, and bringing the temp down will encourage drinking. I have also had my daughter with a throat so sore she wouldn't drink, and I have used a nurofen syringe and syringed enough juice into her to keep her hydrated over three days', until she would finally start drinking again.

    Hope you are all recovered soon. xxxx

    eeee, I symathise but there is such short supply at the moment that I suspect yoru GP will be targetting the vaccine at those with life-threatening conditions. You should be able to speak to your GP by telephoning the surgery and leaving a message for him/her to call you, that is what I do. I don't know much about planning babies (I only planned one of my three) but maybe if you are so worried waiting until you've had the vaccine might be better? It seems like take-up is going to be very slow so it might not be that long before a dose becomes available.

    Complain about this comment

  • 142. At 9:29pm on 25 Oct 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    Thanks for that info Angel. We tried the nurofen/calpol thing yesterday and she would not take the nurofen for children at all, couldnt stand the taste. So we bought the Calpol with the ibuprofen in and she spat that out too. Had to resort to just using the calpol. Luckily it did the trick, but with my eldest that wasnt enough and she had to have both.
    We tried everything to get her to take the antibiotics. The Dr in the end said we just had to be cruel to be kind and squirt the medicine at the back of her throat, thats what made her sick. Why do they never want to take medicine when they need it the most? Now she is feeling better, she is much better at taking it.
    That info you posted will be very useful for a lot of people.
    Thanks.

    Complain about this comment

  • 143. At 05:10am on 26 Oct 2009, SkylineOnFire wrote:

    http://www.fox21online.com/healthreport/minnesota-man-racks-400000-bill-while-battling-h1n1 This is why the USA needs to get its act together on healthcare. Its the only modern, first world western country without free healthcare, its pathetic. People shouldn't die in the "richest" country in the world, because they cant afford the extortionate medial bills. Its a disgrace.

    In other news! I was due to fly to the US again today, (about the 10th time this year, really getting sick of that flight) but the main guy i was going over to work with has come down with swine flu, so everything has been postponed indefinitely (it was a "limited timescale shoot" so we wont have a chance to get this again for months) But at least i dont have to go. It will be interesting to see how well he comes through SF, very fit and healthy guy, so no problems id say.

    One thing im really getting sick of is idiotic "news" sites reporting "swine flu vaccination causes Guillain Barre Syndrome" without pointing out that this was in 1976, and completely unrelated to any 2009 strain, vaccine, outbreak, or anything. I guess its creative news telling, and brings in the views. But its another show of how the media warp the truth, like they did with this outbreak from the start, and continue to try and do. Should be banned it really should. But of course we need "free press", not that there is any such thing as a free press without bias. Impossible unfortunately.

    Since i have a few days spare now due to no US trip, i think il go to France for a few days, hunt for clients, lets just hope i dont sneeze! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1222827/British-swine-flu-kids-scared-witless-French-police-turned-masks.html Rather over the top i must admit, still im sure it wasnt as bad as the daily fail made out. They really have an "anti EU/Euro" agenda going on over there. Rather strange. "patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel", so it figures for those types. Anyway, getting off topic and rather tired.

    Hope everyone is good. Where are the theorists of late anyway!? Heres something for you guys, http://www.infowars.com/obamas-h1n1-emergency-declaration-is-martial-law-unfolding Watch for the black helicopters.... And listen for the sirens, Sweet dreams!

    Sorry im mean i know, its just cute how the most gullible people of all are the elitist "theorist" types.

    Complain about this comment

  • 144. At 06:16am on 26 Oct 2009, Questionsaplenty2 wrote:

    *********************************************************************


    SKYLINE - sorry to keep asking - not sure if you have seen my posts to you earlier - can you expand on your second peak being lower theory? Thanks

    *********************************************************************

    Complain about this comment

  • 145. At 08:03am on 26 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Tinkerbell, can't believe you were told to squirt the meds into your daughter's throat - of course she was sick! The way to do it is to squirt into her cheek, slowly, it will trickle down her throat without her gagging on it or spitting it out. You can't mix antibiotics with yoghurt because a lot of them can't be taken at the same time as dairy but I can see no reason why you couldn't mix nurofen. The sweets are a good bribe because the taste goes immediately. I guessed you'd have done the fever management before but so many people haven't, it's really important for people to know.

    Skyline, what do you think about the situation in America? Have a good trip!

    Complain about this comment

  • 146. At 11:41am on 26 Oct 2009, Jen wrote:

    Morning Skyline-hope you are ok-looking at the time of your post, you must have been up really early ready for your flight or simply been awake all night. Guess it must be annoying to not go after getting ready, but I hope you enjoy France. Other nations are behaving rather oddly over SF. My husband was using hand gel in a Portuguese airport earlier this year, and explained why to the airport police. We nearly got arrested there and then because they thought we had it and were telling us there wasn't any in Portugal, even thought their own Ministry of Health website had numbers posted! Back then, France were saying they had very few cases, and in the summer they were mass quarantining whole bus loads of children the same as Hong Kong were-treating them as if they were bio hazards not people-frightening them unnecessarily. Germany started reporting cases in the summer and blamed tourists for bringing it in (despite the news they had no soap in there schools because of cutbacks and were reversing this)! WHO did say some time ago that differences between countries in reporting figures made it difficult to assess accuracy.

    It seems that some countries are almost protectionist about everthing-not just the credit crunch, but SF too. Europe is supposed to be one happy family but when there are problems they appear to 'pull up the drawbridge'! Bit like the 'i'm all right Jack' attitude of some re Tamiflu a few months back.

    I agree with you about the appalling state of free health care in the States. I guess this is why President Obama is trying so very hard to reform health care provision there, and why he had to declare a state of emergency over SF. 3 years ago, a friend of mine needed emergency surgery over there. Although he was insured, he had to fund it himself first. It cost him £17,000 and he spent his 'holiday' trying to get his insurance company to settle his credit card bill. Not much of a holiday at all.

    Thank God for our NHS-warts and all!

    Vaccines are out to GP's this week, and hopefully the impending postal strikes this week will be averted so the vulnerable can get their vaccinations. I'm really hoping that deaths and numbers with SF will start to drop dramatically after the next 3 weeks. I find it so terribly sad to hear of people dying from such a mild illness-it still shocks me.

    Complain about this comment

  • 147. At 1:42pm on 26 Oct 2009, SkylineOnFire wrote:

    Questionsaplenty - Im not convinced of that theory myself. I was thinking due to the fact we already have a vaccine being deployed, we already have partial herd immunity, the vast majority of "super spreaders" have probably already had SF, and the increased awareness, means i think it MAY be lower. But this is one of those things im really not convinced on. And we will truthfully never know, since there is no definitive way of testing every single person with the sniffles, and remember for every sick person there are 2 who are asymptomatic/so mild they think its hayfever.


    Angelscomeinthrees - RE the US, there is a general decline in cases in universities, colleges and schools according to what i've read. So im assuming the peak is over there. Considering its an incredibly contagious virus, its no surprise. Honestly i just cant see it being around by christmas. Its far too contagious. The "state of emergency" declared was just for administrative purposes. To release federal, FEMA funding, and to allow emergency measures to be put in place quickly and without hinderance in case there was a very large spike in cases or something. They have had to deploy tents outside hospitals in some US cities and towns to deal with the influx of SF cases. Thats no surprise, and to me a good thing. The more people who catch it, the quicker we can gain herd immunity and go back to acting normal.


    TigerJayJ - Yep, up ready to drive to the airport and go, but no luck. Oh well, im just glad i dont have to spend another 9 hours in a plane, hate that trip. To be honest, any country that says they have "so and so" numbers of cases, hasnt got a clue. There is no way of telling, since its so mild, and can present like hayfever, a cold, the flu, etc... There is no definitive way of knowing how many cases they have. The only useful statistic is general influenza like illness trends, I,E people phoning help lines, going to GP, etc... And even that will miss a good... 50 percent of cases. I have friends who had flu, and a good 80 percent of them never contacted any government agency, so they technically havent had any flu like symptoms, so havent been put on the list of "probable cases".

    The postal strikes are an issue when it comes to vaccine delivery, but im sure that other delivery methods are available as backup. Do they even ship vaccine via the RM? It doesnt seem the best idea considering their track record (12,000 pounds of broken camera equipment to our company in the past 2 years) but thats probably just me. I hope!

    It is sad to hear of people dying from something weaker than seasonal flu, but remember that every year 9000 people die from the regular seasonal flu, so this is a godsend in comparison. Hopefully this year there will be thousands of people who would have died otherwise, alive.

    There was a decent, interesting program on radio 4 this morning at 11 i listened to in bed, (20 and i already listen to radio 4... God help me) Heres a link to it http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00ndxjm Its pretty informative. Some rather hilariously uneducated NHS admin staff describing why they wont take the SF vaccine but are happy to take the seasonal flu shot (SAME DAMN THING) but what can you do? Some people would rather listen to utterly false information rather than the scientific fact. Free society and all that i guess.

    Hope everyone is good.

    Complain about this comment

  • 148. At 2:22pm on 26 Oct 2009, Questionsaplenty2 wrote:

    Thanks for replying Skyline - I guess as you say we will never know. I am heartened to hear about the decline in the US schools & Universities. they generally don't pause for a half-term break line us. Oh if only it would be all over by Christmas - wouldn't that be so wonderful!

    Complain about this comment

  • 149. At 2:40pm on 26 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Thank you Skyline, that's very interesting, good to hear that the States are seeing a decline. I suspect that for many people a Christmas free from the fear of sf would be the best present possible. Absolutely brilliant that you are still posting here, you help so many people to get a grip, including me. I once sat on the stairs at my friends' house and told her everything I'd read on this blog that you'd said about sf, she'd got herself in a right state and it was so good to be able to pass on your opinion, now apparently shared by the Govt. - at the time they were still in 64,000 projected deaths territory. I suspect that the scaremongerers have left because they've realised that they've been upsetting people rather than 'informing' them.

    I truly can't understand sending vaccines through the post. I bought and early Xmas gift for my daughter as I know it will be a sell-out, it was posted by recorded delivery on October 8th and arrived today. Not exactly brilliant.

    Complain about this comment

  • 150. At 2:40pm on 26 Oct 2009, SkylineOnFire wrote:

    Questions, it would and it wouldnt. Lets just hope seasonal flu doesnt manage to set in like it normally does. Thats the real killer. Swine flu is a puppy compared to the numbers killed by seasonal flu.

    Complain about this comment

  • 151. At 2:59pm on 26 Oct 2009, SkylineOnFire wrote:

    The initial death tolls were just crazy, like i said then there was literally zero evidence to suggest 65000 deaths from SF this winter. I dont understand what Donaldson and his croneys were thinking with that one. All that did was absolutely ruin a few hundred thousand peoples month, and terrify them.

    I remember back when i suffered extreme health anxiety, in secondary school, around 7 years ago now id say, and there was a big program about smallpox on the BBC, it was terrifying for me then. I must of spent months going over that program again and again in my head due to the stupid health anxiety, so i get how it feels for people, and it really is beyond words how soul crushing it is. Anyone reading with with any level of health anxiety, i feel your pain 100 percent and you have my complete sympathy, there is nothing like it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 152. At 4:44pm on 26 Oct 2009, Questionsaplenty2 wrote:

    Skyline - true what you say re seasonal flu and deaths but from a HA angle, its the swine flu that has people with HA like me so terrified (mostly due to certain areas of the media hyping it up over the summer). I've had seasonal flu twice before and have come through just fine so it holds little fear for me, but I understand what you are saying re the illness rate for those in the usual risk groups.

    I'm the other way round from you - I never had HA until I was in my mid 30s then developed it after having bad reactions to several different meds the docs gave me, one after another. I've had CBT for it but I still have to fight it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 153. At 5:27pm on 26 Oct 2009, robbo wrote:

    @skyline, i completely agree with yiu mate, despite the logical flaws in there argument, some people still insist on believing that our goverment,somehow, are trying to kill us all off with a dangerous vaccine,despite the fact they would lose the tax revenue, i cn think of plenty of reasons why they would think it was a 'bad idea', fair enough, it hasn't been tested as much as normal flu vaccine, but it's essentially the same as a seasonal flu vaccine,but there isn't time for that, they are working on the assumption that this could turn nasty and that's the right way to do it, although i am pretty confident that skyline is right and this thing won't mutate, it's always best to prepare for the worst, stay safe all,and take care

    Complain about this comment

  • 154. At 6:19pm on 26 Oct 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    Good to hear the numbers are declining in America. I would like to hear more regarding the deaths in those poor children over there. Why so many? Is it just the case that the numbers who have caught SF are so large, that the amount is a natural result of this, or is it that people arent getting med attention in time? Is it because of obesity? Are the children from poorer backgrounds? How many were healthy?

    I read about the mandatory vaccinations for healthcare workers over there, what reaction is that getting currently?

    Also, does anyone know of a rash being a common symptom with SF? My dh felt rotten yesterday and woke up covered in a rash today, all over his torso and a little on his forehead. I did read that some people (mainly children) had had a rash with it, largely in the last couple of days of feeling unwell. Thankfully, lil one back to normal.

    Complain about this comment

  • 155. At 9:10pm on 26 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    My anxiety is all for my children, as many of you know, I only ever worry about myself in relation to the impact my getting sick would have on them. Anxiety disorders of any kind are totally crippling, emotionally and physically. When mine was at its height following a traumatic illness for my middle daughter the only way my mind could cope was to remove itself totally from any emotional involvement with my family. I can remember that it felt like watching a film, and very often I would shut myself away in my room with my son, who was only weeks old, I would listen to my girls playing and it was like listening to the radio, I wasn't present at all. Sf brought a lot of that back and for a while back in the summer I had that sense of unreality again. I sympathise massively with anyone suffering from anxiety of any kind, whether it is for yourself or others, it is an awful thing to live with because it separates you from the world and actually makes experiencing love very hard, whether that is a love of those around you or a love of life itself, even though you know in your head that you love you can't allow yourself to feel it because of the pain it causes.

    For any of you going through this I'll repeat my earlier recommendations of Loving What Is by Byron Katie (this helped me the most) and Self Help for Your Nerves by Claire Weekes (which is quicker to get results).

    Tinkerbell, can't help re the rash, has your dh spoken with your GP? Post-viral rashes are very common for children but can't say I've heard of it in adults.

    Complain about this comment

  • 156. At 11:11pm on 26 Oct 2009, Questionsaplenty2 wrote:

    angels - I've got the Claire Weekes book too - definitely recommend it!
    Yes I know all about that detachment from reality - I have to do it every time my Hubby flies anywhere - I used to feel my anxiety spiralling, nowadays I detach instead. I guess it's the floating thing CW goes on about in her book. I can't always do it with the health stuff though. Have to keep using the "what's the most likely thing to happen" approach I was taught at CBT. Even that is a struggle when the media are frightening us witless!

    Complain about this comment

  • 157. At 00:31am on 27 Oct 2009, universalmum wrote:

    Tinkerbell my cousin in Dorset had sf and he said he had a big bumpy rash come up all over his upper body and felt very unwell with it.
    My health anxiety has been the big monster thing in all of this for me since the wild scares of the first peak and I still get it now like when you get little snippets of information like the quick reports which appeared and then disappeared on the bbc news site last week about two young girls who died within a day or so of each other, albeit in different areas of England both had sf and one died within 24 hours, but you are not told any more and then you find yourself getting into the worst possible state because it still sounds so frightening. Then I find myself asking questions like the ones you're asking about America, Tinkerbell, and you don't get answers, or you become obsessed with trying to find them and it is so unhealthy. And what is the point of putting these stories out without full information if not just to scare people? But I totally relate to what all the last few posts have said about health anxiety and you have all helped me so much reading just this tonight. I'm going to check out the books angel, but just that so sensible question "what's the most likely thing to happen" puts it so well. I was trying to get at this in some earlier posts a few weeks ago when I was asking questions about statistical risks and weighing up risk factors but this is so simple it's beautiful.
    Sensibly though(!), it does annoy me that they've got this advert about a man sneezing onto his hand and wiping germs everywhere on his way home from work and going home and picking up the TV remote then his son picks it up and gets flu, so they haven't even addressed the fact that hand washing should be the first thing you do when you get home. Also given the spread in schools has there been no thought by the government to address hand washing hygiene in schools? A friend of mine's son at 11 years old is in Shanghai with other family for a year and all the children are bussed to school - their temparatures are taken as they get on the buses and if they are at all unwell they are not even allowed on. LOL to all.

    Complain about this comment

  • 158. At 06:36am on 27 Oct 2009, Questionsaplenty2 wrote:



    I was in a family pub chain restaurant for Sunday lunch the other day. Th woman serving drinks suddenly did a massive cough into her hand and then continued to serve drinks to the person in front of us. When it was our turn, I asked her if she had a cold. She relied "Yes, I've not been at all well". I felt very awkward but i told her she should wash her hands before serving people, esp with SF around. She replied (very put out) she would get someone else to serve me. Turns out her mother is the manageress there & she went and grumbled to her in the corner. This is a chain of pub-restaurants, not independent. They should know better!

    Complain about this comment

  • 159. At 06:39am on 27 Oct 2009, Questionsaplenty2 wrote:

    Universalmum... the other thing they taught me at CBT for when things get bad with anxiety, is to set a time aside for worrying at a specific time later in the day/ next day, label it your "worry Time" & then postpone your worry until then. It does work particularly well at bedtime. I cope better with anxiety in the morning so my worry time is 10am and i often see things better in a fresh light too.

    Complain about this comment

  • 160. At 07:23am on 27 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Questions, that is such sensible advice, and well done you for speaking up. Universalmum, in Byron Katie's method of dealing with negativity she asks the question, 'is that true?', 'can you be absolutely sure that is true?', and when it comes to it there is nothing that you cannot ask that question of. Even 'swine flu should not be happening' - well, maybe it should, we can't possibly know if it should or it shouldn't. I used this to deal with the fact that my eldest daughter nearly died at birth, and in particular that I couldn't breastfeed her; I thought I'd never make peace with it, but I did. Now I am still working through the circumstances around my son's birth and younger daughter's illness, sometimes I prefer not to and try to bury it, so it is probably taking me much longer than if I just got on with it. We all get so stressed because we believe our 'stories', the things we tell ourselves about what should or should not have happened or happen in the future. You can check out Byron Katie in action at thework.org.

    The best piece of advice I got from Claire Weekes was never to lie in bed in the morning. I used to wake up sick with dread about what the day would bring, and I'd feel absolutely paralysed with fear. Forcing myself to get up and get on with the routine of the day was so much better. During periods of high anxiety I also go to bed extremely late because I want to avoid the next day arriving, but actually I cope far better with anxiety if I am well rested. I've suggested on here before limiting media use, and in particular ferreting around on the net, it just stokes up yoru fear and anxiety. It's important to face your fears, so you do need a reliable source of information (I use this site, and only search if a story comes up for which there is limited info), but there is no point in feeding the anxiety.

    Another good way to deal with anxiety is through mindfulness. When I am anxious about the future I'm not present to my loved ones or to my own life, right now. Taking a reality check as to what is happening in the present moment is so helpful, as is practicing mindfulness - being aware of the present and doing everything like it matters. So when you are washing up you feel the bubbles, the water, the china, really pay attention to them instead of thinking of something esle and doing it on autopilot. Thich Naht Hanh has written my favourite book on this, and he says that if you are washing up whilst thinking of the cup of tea you are about to make, you are msiing the miracle of you, now, washing up. So when I worry about my kids getting and becoming seriously ill with sf in the future, I'm missing the miracle of them here and now. Steve Biddulph desribes a quick way to find mindfulness in a stressful situation, basically you become very aware of your external surroundings, listening for noise, smell, texture, then your external body, the feel of your clothes, shoes on your feet, bod temp, then your internal body - feeling hungry, for example. It's a really good way to become present in your physical body. Some people find Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now really good on mindfulness, too.

    Some people, including myself, find the technique of 'grounding and protecting' helpful, too, I'm happy to give info if anyone is interested.

    Complain about this comment

  • 161. At 09:24am on 27 Oct 2009, Questionsaplenty2 wrote:

    QUOTE ANGELS """ The best piece of advice I got from Claire Weekes was never to lie in bed in the morning. I used to wake up sick with dread about what the day would bring, and I'd feel absolutely paralysed with fear. Forcing myself to get up and get on with the routine of the day was so much better. During periods of high anxiety I also go to bed extremely late because I want to avoid the next day arriving, but actually I cope far better with anxiety if I am well rested. I've suggested on here before limiting media use, and in particular ferreting around on the net, it just stokes up yoru fear and anxiety. It's important to face your fears, so you do need a reliable source of information (I use this site, and only search if a story comes up for which there is limited info), but there is no point in feeding the anxiety."""

    I could have written that Angel - I went through the lying in bed for 2 weeks at the height of my anxiety until i read Claire weekes. Also I have learned not to Google anything I'm worried about anymore cos it always comes up with Cancer! LOL Actually knowing this usually happens has helped too. I Googled something I wasn't at all worried about the other day (as I knew what I had 100%) and I still managed to find links mentioning Cancer - I actually laughed to myself as I'd been expecting it!

    Yes I have come across Mindfulness during my CBT sessions too (I was actually given some CDs on it) but I think it is something you have to practise regularly and devote quite a lot of time to every day to really get into it. I think the concept is useful of concentrating on the moment though.

    Complain about this comment

  • 162. At 10:25am on 27 Oct 2009, aeromumtobe2 wrote:

    I am 35 weeks pregnant, and have just phoned my surgery about when I will be called in for my vaccination, I have been told they have not received in any vaccine, and dont expect to, till next Tuesday 3rd. Then this will be given first to diabetics, asthmatics etc, and then phase 2 will be pregnant woman, but they have no clue when phase 2 will start. I was shocked by this as all the media reports i am reading indicate that pregnant woman are receiving it as we speak up and down the country??? At this rate I will have given birth before it is available!

    Complain about this comment

  • 163. At 11:18am on 27 Oct 2009, Jen wrote:

    Tinkerbellbobby-I read last week that the order of compulsory vaccination of health staff in the States has been suspended as their vaccine delivery is delayed and going to be less. President Obama spoke of this when he declared the state of emergency so more people could get access to medical help.

    I suspect (my own theory, can't find anything to back it up so it could be completely wrong!) is that the number of child deaths is because of poor availability of free medical care. The announcement by PO said he wasvery worried by this and I think this may have been instrumental in his state of emergency declaration.

    I don't think it is an indicator in anyway of SF being worse there, just access to free medical care. It may also have to do with fear of authority in illegal immigrants, but again, this is pure soeculation on my part.

    Try not to worry Tinkerbell-we are lucky to have the NHS-we don't have to pay to see a doc, nor for hospital treatment thank goodness. If we did, I suspect we would be seeing a far greater death toll than has hitherto been the case.

    Complain about this comment

  • 164. At 11:28am on 27 Oct 2009, Jen wrote:

    Re viral rashes-my son had an allergic reaction to an unspecified virus. It was so bad that he had hives with blisters up to 6" long. He was 16 at the time, and our GP was more fascinated by it (he took pictures) than concerned about treating it. My poor boy was in so much pain he was screaming as each blister appeared. It took 3 days to stop-I've never been so heartbroken at my helplessness.

    I thought pregnant women were now among the top priority for vaccination? Heaven inky knows when GP's will get there vaccines as I did read they had only been sent this week, and with the postal strikes looming again it's going to be lottery distribution as far as I can see. It's bad enough that the strikes happen at all, and at Christmas time, but in my mind it's unforgivable to disrupt delivery of vaccines designed to save lives. The CWU have probably shot themselves in the foot with this one! Perhaps a competitor could step in with a token cost to get vaccines delivered on time?

    Complain about this comment

  • 165. At 11:29am on 27 Oct 2009, Jen wrote:

    Sorry -inky should be only-apologies for my weird predictive text!

    Complain about this comment

  • 166. At 11:29am on 27 Oct 2009, Jen wrote:

    And there should be their! Oops!

    Complain about this comment

  • 167. At 11:50am on 27 Oct 2009, ozymandias wrote:

    Skyline, you clearly have some knowledge here, but some of your posts are not rooted in evidence. Post 150, you say "swine flu is a puppy compared to seasonal flu". Evidence please. There is evidence that swine flu affects people deeper in the lungs. I see no evidence that the death rate is any lower than seasonal flu, and the proportion of the population affected is likely to be higher. There is anecdotal evidence from people who have had the virus (as opposed to people who have had a cold but rung up for Tamiflu anyway) that it is a very nasty illness.

    Your post 151 criticises Donaldson for the 65,000 figure, unlike me you think this is on the high side. But it was a reasonable projection. Still is.

    People are anxious. They are right to be anxious. Its better that we are anxious than ill or dead. People should be so anxious that they are hammering on Donaldson's door demanding to know why the reaction has been so slow, why the release of the vaccine was delayed by EU bureaucracy, why supplies seem to be sent out so lowly, why there is no schedule for what happens after the priority groups are vaccinated.

    Complain about this comment

  • 168. At 12:03pm on 27 Oct 2009, Not_me_me_me wrote:

    Can anyone answer this question. The first priority group for the vaccine is, according to an NHS leaflet: 'Adults and children over six months of age who have a long-term health condition'. Most of the time the word 'chronic' is used with reference to that group. Sometimes I hear the media say that those with asthma will be included in the first group. The second group is pregnancy women. So my question is: will everyone with asthma (INCLUDING those with mild asthma) be invited to be vaccinated before pregnant women?

    Complain about this comment

  • 169. At 12:19pm on 27 Oct 2009, ozymandias wrote:

    Tigerjayj, don't rush now to condemn postal workers for the delays. I don't think
    the vaccine is being sent in the post, it would be unforgivable if it was, strike or no strike. My understanding is that the notifications to patients to come in were what was being sent out by post. These people never heard of telephones?

    Complain about this comment

  • 170. At 12:55pm on 27 Oct 2009, Not_me_me_me wrote:

    OK. How did that happen? Perhaps the moderator is having a laugh. My nickname is 'Not_me_me_me', not 'you'. Weird.

    Complain about this comment

  • 171. At 12:57pm on 27 Oct 2009, Not_me_me_me wrote:

    Doh! Just ignore my last comment. Being a bit slow today.

    Complain about this comment

  • 172. At 1:08pm on 27 Oct 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    Thanks Tiger, I didnt realise it had been delayed, not had time to read every post. Maybe the pandemic will make the Americans realise how important it is to have free healthcare for all at point of contact. 100 children. V sad.

    me me me - you just made me laugh out loud, thats the kind of mistake I would make. lol

    Complain about this comment

  • 173. At 1:11pm on 27 Oct 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    Tiger, I cant believe the Dr was more interested in taking photos than treating it? Did you ever find out why it was, did it ever happen again?
    That must have been dreadful. I have stopped having children after two girls as the worry over them isnt worth it. lol. If I had three to worry about, I wouldnt function at all. ;-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 174. At 1:11pm on 27 Oct 2009, GillieBollie wrote:

    Ozymandias. Where do you get your information from? The UK Government last week acknowledged that the upper limit for deaths from swine flu has been revised to around 1,000 which is significantly less than normal seasonal flu. My only concern is that if swine flu disappears by Christmas we could still be vulnerable to a seasonal flu attack. People in this country are still going to work/school when sick which is the most selfish attitude and is what causes a wider spread.

    Complain about this comment

  • 175. At 1:14pm on 27 Oct 2009, GillieBollie wrote:

    I also find it interesting that you and others are saying how slow the development of the vaccine has been, while others refuse to have it as it has been developed too quickly - we can't have it both ways. My view is that things have worked well until now, when there appears to be a great shortage of available vaccine around the world. This makes it essential that people only get the vaccine if they really need it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 176. At 1:14pm on 27 Oct 2009, universalmum wrote:

    Ozymandias see my post number 110 (OK it's a long way back up the blog). My GP said to me on Friday 23rd October the vaccines are coming in the post to his practice which is in north London. On evidence, where is your evidence that the death rate is higher than seasonal flu? Donaldson has revised his own projection significantly downwards hasn't he?
    Not_me_me_me, my GP defined a child in a vulnerable group as someone who has asthma for example or who has recurring infections over a long period of time (I guess a few years - he was looking back through my girl's medical records as we spoke and we've been registered there 3 years). I thought pregnant women were the first group in that priority order, closely followed by anyone between the age of 6 months and 65 with a chronic condition.

    Complain about this comment

  • 177. At 1:15pm on 27 Oct 2009, BLT wrote:

    Fergus where have you gone?! Just as the vaccines start getting distributed you desert us! We need info on how many people have been vaccinated so far, what reported side effects are etc. Read yesterday on EMEA webste that advice re doses of Pandemrix has not chagned - still recommending 2 shots 3 weeks apart for EVERYONE. Why is UK Gov. ignoring this? As if the decision whether to have the vaccine isn't hard enough for some people anyway, now it seems that even if you do have it (and to some people that in their eyes is a risk) it might not be as effective as it should be, which might just tip more people into the 'it's not worth it' bracket.

    I'd so prefer to have America's vaccine!

    Also I have been reading here suggestions that swine flu cases in USA are dropping - where is that coming from please - I haven't seen that on BBC website?

    Complain about this comment

  • 178. At 1:56pm on 27 Oct 2009, ozymandias wrote:

    Universalmum I don't think your GP is right, vaccine manufacturers would have their own delivery systems. I don't think the post would be secure enough or would keep
    the vaccine under the right conditions. I see several reports around about the postal strike delaying letters of invitation to have it, in the Telegraph and elsewhere, but not one says that the vaccine delivery is through the post. The delays are in production and delivery from the manufacturers, due to EU red tape and the governments unwillingness to circumvent it. The shortage in the US is a different issue.

    Complain about this comment

  • 179. At 3:37pm on 27 Oct 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Ozymandias, I agree totally with Gillie. Please back up your assertion that 64,000 deaths is a likely scenario. I am empatically not in favour of ignoring the facts but I can't see where yours are coming from, particularly given that Donaldson, who has not exactly been Mr. Sunshine since this pandemic began, is now saying a death rate much lower than seasonal flu is expected.

    I don't think anyone would dispute that sf is nasty, but your statement about people recovering from sf without help possibly proves that this is something that most people get over without help. It seems to me that the vast majority of people throw sf off easily, but a larger than average number get secondary infections and require medical treatment, but a much smaller tghan average number actually die. So I suppose that if the figures and projections are in any way accurate, sf still has a much lower mortality rate than seasonal flu. I've been through many unpleasant and terrifying illnesses with my kids, and although I don't exactly want to do it again, I'd prefer them to get sick and recover, which seems to be the likliest scenario.

    I don't believe that we should hide from the facts, but neither do I believe that unnecessary (an apparently out-of-date) speculation is helpful either. Or have you missed the crippling anxiety that some of us suffer from? Anxiety may seem wet and perhaps some people may believe that we should just pull ourselves together, but actually it is an illness that ruins lives. I am sure you mean well and I have no problem with facts, so if you can back up why 64,00 deaths is reasonable given the latest understanding about sf then please, tell us.

    Okay, having just railed against speculation without facts, here's my bit of specualtion with no foundation whatsoever. What effect does alcohol have on the body to cope with viruses? Given that many people drink more units in a week than are good for then, could this be a reason why adults under 50 are particularly affcted by sf?

    Complain about this comment

  • 180. At 3:39pm on 27 Oct 2009, GillieBollie wrote:

    I think it as likely that it's the rubbish food that so many people eat that's the cause!

    Complain about this comment

  • 181. At 03:40am on 31 Oct 2009, PDWilliams wrote:

    Skyline - I see that you have said a couple of times (posts 147, 82 etc.) that the seasonal flu vaccine and the swine flu vaccine are exactly the same thing? If I am not misquoting or misrepresenting you, can you clarify exactly what you mean by this?

    I ask because relatives of mine have had their seasonal flu vaccines but must return soon for their swine flu vaccines. If they are the same thing, I am confused as to why this would be necessary.

    Complain about this comment

  • 182. At 1:48pm on 05 Nov 2009, jimbo747 wrote:

    I'm new to this but wanted to pass comment and perhaps get a clearer picture of the real situation. A work friend is 6 months pregnant, upon phoning her GP and asking if and when she'd be called for her vaccination she was told that they "don't know" and did not expect to know much before mid December. She was a little concered on hearing this and asked if they had any further information or advice they could give given her condition and family history of asthma. To again be told NO not until next month....My question would be..."is this common place?" or a one off I'll informed surgery.
    To answer a question posted by PDWILLIAMS the vaccines are not the same..they can't be..its a different virus strain.

    Complain about this comment

  • 183. At 10:19pm on 06 Nov 2009, melrose wrote:

    The biggest health concern should not be the virus but the vaccine.
    Typically, data on the efficacy of vaccination programmes and any long term adverse effects are not readily forthcoming. Take for example Pandemrix, the vaccine most people are being offered in the UK for swine flu. Its formulation contains an organomercury based preservative called Thiomersal (also known as Thimerosal) and Squalene within the adjuvant. In the past, both of these compounds have been associated with neurodegenerative and autoimmune illnesses.
    Millions of high risk people have already received the vaccine. A recent update on the blog indicates the desire and intention to extend the vaccination programme to other (lower risk) groups such as children. We need to reflect on the possible long term effects of the government’s actions.
    Although data relating to the efficacy of vaccines is restricted, some is available from government sources and respected scientific literature. Fortunately for the public, Dr Russell Blaylock, a retired neurosurgeon and current neuroscience researcher has collected and assessed the available evidence. He shares the alarming results in an extended interview with Dr Mercola and is accessible through the following link (copy and paste into your browser):
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/11/03/What-We-Have-Learned-About-the-Great-Swine-Flu-Pandemic.aspx
    Please note that although the link summarises the United States’ experience of swine flu and vaccines, the scientific lessons are equally applicable to us in the UK.
    Hopefully readers of this blog will be able to assess the evidence and any possible long term effects for themselves and decide if the jab is for them and their children.

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.