Jersey politician says bird flu vaccine 'a waste of money'

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A Jersey politician has branded the spending of £300,000 on stock piles of a bird flu vaccine as "a waste of taxpayers' money".

Deputy Gerard Baudains says he despairs over spending yet more on Tamiflu in case the disease breaks out in Jersey.

He said the States bought stock of the vaccines in 2007 costing more than £1m which had to be destroyed after a pandemic failed to materialise.

The Health Department says it is part of its pandemic flu strategy.

A spokesman said the money was needed for new courses as the old stock was now out of date.

Deputy Baudain intends to raise his concerns in the States debate on Tuesday and said he expects an answer from the health minister.

"I am concerned about Tamiflu and mainly down to the amount of money we are spending. Most of the previous stock ended up being destroyed," he said.

"I want to know why we are doing this? After the debacle of the last round, which cost just over £1m, I want to know why we are spending money on it again? There must be more important things to spend our money on."

Deputy Baudain said it was a "useless drug" as all it does is try and prevent the virus from multiplying.

"You have to take it within 48 hours of catching the illness and then somewhere along the line it reduces the time you spend recovering from the flu.

"I despair, I have no idea why we are stockpiling it. If it was a real vaccination that prevents people from catching it I might understand it."

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