Health boss defends swine flu jab after Birmingham hospitals targeted by 'vigilantes'
VIGILANTES targeting Birmingham hospitals to frighten people into not having the swine flu vaccine have been condemned by Britain’s top health boss.
Latest estimates show 15 people have died from the H1N1 virus in the West Midlands.
Yet The People’s United Community (Tpuc) launched a coordinated attack against the new vaccine at Edgbaston’s Queen Elizabeth and Selly Oak hospitals, City Hospital, in Winson Green, and Birmingham Children’s Hospital, this week.
The group roamed corridors in the evening, putting up posters and handing out leaflets to patients and relatives with the slogan: “Swine flu is not the biggest danger. It’s the vaccine.”
Britain’s health chief, Sir Liam Donaldson, revealed Tpuc had only targeted Birmingham so far. Helen Jackson, spokeswoman for NHS West Midlands, condemned the campaigners saying: “The concern is that this group is giving out false information to the public.
“This vaccine is to protect people and has been developed through robust trials that show it is safe and effective.”
Swine flu rates in the West Midlands continued to increase over the past week with GP consultations for flu-like illnesses rising from 39.6 per 100,000 people seven days ago to 49.8, higher than the national average of 46.4. There were 146 patients admitted to hospital this week for swine flu in the region, compared to 113 last week.
There have now been 137 deaths from swine flu across the UK, but data shows 65 per cent of them were deemed “high-risk” who would have been in line for the vaccine if they had lived.
Tpuc could not be contacted for comment.