One in three GPs to reject swine flu jab

Manufacturers confident jabs safe as GPs reject pressure to protect themselves.

Dr Maureen Baker
Dr Maureen Baker

Most GPs do not think they have a responsibility to be vaccinated against swine flu, a GP poll suggests.

Of 216 respondents, 52 per cent did not think GPs had a responsibility to be vaccinated. Only 28 per cent said GPs did have a responsibility, while 20 per cent were unsure.

But Professor David Salisbury, DoH director of immunisation, has said frontline health workers have a duty not to infect their patients. 'I think you solve those responsibilities by being vaccinated,' he added.

Many GPs may choose not to be vaccinated against swine flu, the poll shows. A total of 29 per cent said they would opt not to receive the jab and 29 per cent were unsure. Of those planning to refuse, 71 per cent feared the vaccine had not been tested enough to guarantee safety.

But RCGP pandemic lead Dr Maureen Baker expected most GPs to be vaccinated.

'If we have faith in the regulatory system at national and international level, then there's no specific reason to have particular concerns about the safety and efficacy of the swine flu vaccine,' she said.

UK supplies of swine flu vaccines have been ordered from GSK and Baxter. Both vaccines are based on mock-ups tested on thousands of individuals before being approved last year.

A GSK spokeswoman said the perception that vaccine approval was being rushed may be because the licensing process and research that has gone on ahead of the H1N1 outbreak are not well understood.

She said while trials for seasonal flu vaccines typically involved a few hundred people, GSK's swine flu vaccine would be tested on about 9,000 people.

Baxter has said it will test its H1N1 vaccine on 800 people before approval and then conduct a large-scale observational study in 9,000 people.

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