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The swine flu vaccination programme will get under way in the UK next week, the government says.
Patients in hospital deemed at risk - including pregnant women and people with health problems - will get the jab from 21 October.
The following week will see GPs starting to call in priority patients. Over 13m people, including NHS staff, will get the jab in the coming months.
Like the engineers who warned for years about the levees of New Orleans, these experts caution that our defenses may be flawed, and quite possibly useless against a truly lethal flu. And that unless we are willing to ask fundamental questions about the science behind flu vaccines and antiviral drugs, we could find ourselves, in a bad epidemic, as helpless as the citizens of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.
In 2004, for example, vaccine production fell behind, causing a 40 percent drop in immunization rates. Yet mortality did not rise.
In 1989, only 15 percent of people over age 65 in the U.S. and Canada were vaccinated against flu. Today, more than 65 percent are immunized. Yet death rates among the elderly during flu season have increased rather than decreased.
“We have built huge, population-based policies on the flimsiest of scientific evidence. The most unethical thing to do is to carry on business as usual.”
In Japan, where Tamiflu is liberally prescribed, the drug may have been responsible for 50 deaths from cardiopulmonary arrest, from 2001 to 2007
Meanwhile, front-line troops in Afghanistan will also be offered jabs, the Ministry of Defence said.
The troops and staff supporting operations in Afghanistan - totalling 15,000 people - will be vaccinated immediately after the programme to protect those most at risk in Britain.
The Ministry of Defence said: "Recognising the uniquely challenging task facing our troops in Afghanistan, front-line troops will be offered the jab to protect against a major outbreak of swine flu and maintain the numbers of troops available to commanders."
The way the Ministry of Defence buys equipment is "unaffordable", with an estimated budget overrun of £35bn, a report has said.
The review, commissioned by the MoD, said too many types of equipment were being ordered for too large a range of tasks at too high a specification.
Giving paracetamol to babies after vaccinations as a precaution against fever may lower the effectiveness of the immunisation, say researchers.
A trial of 450 infants having vaccines found that paracetamol doses over the next 24 hours did indeed reduce fever.
However, the Czech researchers also found a significantly lower vaccine response with the painkiller.
A UK doctor said the Lancet study backed advice not to use medicines in children without good cause.