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Live webchat with Professor David Salisbury, Dept of Health director of immunisation, Mon, November 2, 1pm

(318 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 27-Oct-09 11:43:35

We're very pleased to have Professor David Salisbury, the Department of Health's director of immunisation, as our guest for a live webchat this Friday, 30 Oct, at 1pm.

Professor Salisbury, who originally trained as a paediatrician, and also works extensively for the World Health Organisation including his role as chairman of the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Vaccines, is a timely guest given that the swine flu vaccination
programme is now being rolled out. Pregnant women are one of the first 'at-risk' groups being offered the jab.

There has already been a large amount of discussion about the vaccine, so this is your chance to put your questions, concerns and comments to the government's top vaccines expert.

As usual, if you can't join us on the day, please post your question here and Prof Salisbury will try to answer as many as possible.

stuffitllllama Tue 27-Oct-09 16:37:33

Beach, I'd like to open the book on whether or not we'll get real answers or more lashings of "reassurance".

I will bet my mortgage it'll be more soothing words.

I can hear the conversation now in the Office of Spin: "You've got to do Mumsnet, everyone's doing it now, and the timing's perfect. It's alright, they'll only ask about biscuits and if they want more, there are at least one or two questions we might be able to answer truthfully. Just blither on about those and you can just ignore the others. Just say "perfectly safe for the majority" a LOT and the words "perfectly safe" will be what they remember."

Sigh. Hope he gets a shock.

DorotheaPlentighoul Tue 27-Oct-09 16:45:54

Too true, stuffit.

SquIDGEyeyeballs Tue 27-Oct-09 17:27:42

Dr Salisbury do you think the UK runs the risk of 'vaccine fatigue' as more and more vaccines are promoted?

I feel that this may have a negative effect on the perception of the value of vaccines generally, especially as many of the vaccines are to prevent diseases that affect the minority rather than the majority and are not necessarily life threatening.

EVye Tue 27-Oct-09 17:33:43

Why does the UK not perfom a chicken pox vaccination programme for people who have not had it by their teens?

pofacedandproud Tue 27-Oct-09 17:41:00

Dr Salisbury, some people are worried about Pandemrix as it contains squalene, an adjuvant not licensed in the States. Why is it not safe for Americans but safe for us? Why cannot people get Celvapan if they prefer?

How is prion contamination avoided in the making of these vaccines, particularly the cell cultured ones [Celvapan] Where are the blood products sourced from?


corblimeymadam Tue 27-Oct-09 17:49:33

Message withdrawn

stuffitllllama Tue 27-Oct-09 17:55:29

May I have another?

Professor Elizabeth Miller of the Health Protection Agency has said:

‘Guillain Barre Sundrome has been identified as a condition needing enhanced surveillance when the swine flu vaccines are rolled out. Reporting every case of GBS irrespective of vaccination or disease history is essential for conducting robust epidemiological analyses capable of identifying whether there is an increased risk of GBS in defined time periods after vaccination, or after influenza itself, compared with the background risk."

Is this not an admission that you do not know if this programme will cause more cases of GBS -- and in fact you are using the roll out to find out if it causes more cases of GBS?

I do believe this is the same Elizabeth Miller who has previously acted as an expert witness for GlaxoSmithKline.

edam Tue 27-Oct-09 19:03:34

Prof Salisbury, I'm sure you don't want to get into MMR again, but since you are here... Back in the early days of the controversy, both the Cochrane Collaboration (as it then was) and Drug & Therapeutics Bulletin backed MMR but said the safety studies were not comprehensive and called for more, well-designed research. That means research that is capable of answering the question 'is there a very small sub-set of children who may be susceptible to adverse consequences from this vaccine?'.

Has such research been carried out? Can you cite references in peer-reviewed journals?

Many thanks.

Lauramc Tue 27-Oct-09 19:07:28

Dear Prof Salisbury
I like thousands of other mums to be are extremely concerned over the decision as to whether to accept the swine flu vaccination. The Pandemrix data sheet clearly states that the vaccine has not been tested on pregnant women and there is no data available on its safety - therefore how can you be sure that it is safe?
I realise that the vaccine is very similar to the seasonal flu vaccine but why was this previously not allowed in pregnant women and why is it safe to have a swine flu vaccine at any stage of pregnancy whereas I cannot have a seasonal flu vacc until 13 weeks?
The swine flu vaccination also contains Thiomersal, previously banned in any vaccines administered to pregnant women in the united states - how can this then be documented as safe?
If Celvapan is thiomersal free, why can pregnant women not be offered this vaccine instead. I realise that since the ban on thiomersal containing vaccines in the USA, autism rates have remained unchanged, however I hope that you will understand our concerns and be able to offer lucid advice that we are so far yet to receive.
Thank you for you time

stinkypinky Tue 27-Oct-09 19:10:03

Sir, I am a nurse (Scotland). I am also 14 weeks pregnant. At present 30+ clients/staff have been infected, and frankly, I am very worried (also have toddlerin full-time nursery)

I have been told by Occupational Health to see my GP to be vaccinated, and my GP has said they have no idea when this is likely to happen.

It has seriously crossed my mind to 'go sick' until I am vaccinated, as I feel my employer is failing to do everything possible to protect me.

Yes, I know you could catch it anywhere, there are higher risk areas to work in, and my children are no more important than anyone else's, but I am still very frightened, and a mother's instinct is to protect her young.

ReneRusso Tue 27-Oct-09 19:36:19

Will data be collected on any adverse reactions in pregnant women receiving the swine flu vaccine, will this be published, and if so where?

I am pregnant (17 weeks) and so I expect to be offered the vaccine, but I have already had swine flu. However I was not swabbed so this was not confirmed. Assuming it was swine flu, what would be the effect on my immune system of receiving the vaccine? Would my baby have any immunity from my infection in the 1st trimester?

There is very little data available on the safety of adjuvants in pregnancy, so why are pregnant women being offered a vaccine with adjuvants?

Beachcomber Tue 27-Oct-09 19:40:07

Hah Stuffitllllama, I'll bet my mortgage on it too!

Can I have another one as well, an easy one this time.

Do Dr Salisbury and his department think that it is a bit of a coincidence (and shamefully unscientific) that whenever anything negative happens after vaccination it is generally described as 'a coincidence' or due to 'underlying conditions'?

VulpusinaWilfsuit Tue 27-Oct-09 19:45:52

'how do you sleep at night?' shockangry

The man's a public health official. FGS. Be polite. Why do you think he is likely to want to engage with him if you're just rude and hectoring?

VulpusinaWilfsuit Tue 27-Oct-09 19:48:22

with you

coolbeans Tue 27-Oct-09 19:58:16

By VulpusinaWilfsuit on Tue 27-Oct-09
The man's a public health official. FGS. Be polite. Why do you think he is likely to want to engage with him if you're just rude and hectoring?"

My thoughts exactly. I really do hope that 'how do you sleep at night?' isn't indicative of the tone of the webchat from some posters. I'd quite like answers from someone who doesn't feel he's being attacked for daring to be a member of the medical profession.

Anyway, my questions for Professor Salisbury are:

How effective will the new vaccine be? And will two doses of vaccine be required for children? What does the research indicate about how protected children will be from the virus?

Also, if I may, are there any allergies that mean you shouldn’t get the vaccine?

Thank you.

Beachcomber Tue 27-Oct-09 20:21:22

I thought it was quite a good question actually because in the last six years that I have spent caring for my vaccine damaged child very few days have gone by when I haven't genuinely wondered how the people who are involved in the vaccine programme, at a high level, sleep at night/live with themselves.

There are very sad reasons for why some people feel this way and Dr Salisbury is in a position where it is impossible that he is not aware of those reasons.

Benjistar Tue 27-Oct-09 20:48:26

Questions and comments for submission to Professor David Salisbury;

Information available to pregnant women at the moment is very blurry and in all honesty, I don't think anyone is convinced that they should just go head on and take a vaccine without trying to understand more about it.

Firstly the statistics that are quoted are entirely misleading (and to be brutally honest meaningless);
Pregnant women are 4 times more likely to get complications and 5 times more likely to end up in hospital....

Is this 4 times 0.0001% or is it 4 times 10%? Ditto for ending up in hospital. Without this information it is nearly impossible for intelligent people to assess the risk they are choosing to take by not taking the vaccine.

Furthermore, I think there is a lack of trust in the medical advice as the vaccines clearly have not been tested on any pregnant women.

Reading between the news articles and the various research papers, I have managed to deduce (as a lay person) that we should avoid the vaccines with adjuvants in, but that there is a stronger argument that the Celvapan vaccine (I think this is the adjuvant free vaccine) is the best one to consider going for (after 14 weeks).

The reasons for this are that (from the information I have been able to find out) the adjuvants are the additives that pose the most risk to an unborn baby - they have not been tested and contain additives that could cause mental retardation.

My understanding is that the adjuvant free vaccines are very similar to ordinary flu vaccines that have not shown any issues with pregnant women - ie ordinary flu vaccines have been tested on pregnant women and are OK.

So firstly, what exactly is the percentage probability of complications and ending up in hospital, and secondly, when it comes to understanding the vaccines, have I got my facts straight here? If not please put me right.

Finally, assuming that we end up at the position where the Celvapan (i think this is the name of the adjuvant free vaccine - if not please tell me which one is) is the one I want to take; I have heard that GPs are required to prescribe this for us if it is an anuthorised drug and that PCT committees can sign off on its being given to those who apply (should there be any problems).

Thanks and I look forward to your responses.

mummyzanne Tue 27-Oct-09 20:57:07

why are some people being offered it now and others dec or later??? even though we r all pregnant just usin different doctors???

AppleMark Tue 27-Oct-09 21:23:33

on the recent "Measles is your child safe" campaign a booklet handed our to parents used the term "nutty antivaccinators" to describe those with safety concerns and those who beleive there child has been damage by vaccination. £400,000 of tax payers money was spent on this campaign organised by salisbury. he deserves tough questions and a rough ride, we have the sickest generation of children ever with alergeis ashma diabetes add adhd autism and childhood cancers. but our health officals are more interested in pushing vaccines on us.

mumbot Tue 27-Oct-09 21:32:55

What evidence can you share with us to demonstrate that the adjuvant in Pandremix is safe for pregnant women?

Not the anticipated behaviour of the adjuvant but how Pandremix actually reacts in pregnancy on a large scale population.

whomovedmychocolatecookie Tue 27-Oct-09 22:00:42

For anyone who truly wishes to understand immunity and how vaccines work (and is a bloody insomniac this is a long text) go here and read this

My question is this: In recent trials it was discovered that 30% of the people being tested already had antibodies which acted against swine flu. This was before the trial vaccines were given. Now while it is possible that another form of flu could give rise to antibodies which might fight against swine flu, it's likely at least some of these people had encountered it - perhaps having subclinical symptoms which were not raised with a general practitioner at the time and so remained 'under the radar' as it were.

Given that the govt is not testing extensively for swine flu and that in most it is a mild (if temporarily incapacitating illness) is it not a huge waste of time and resources to be vaccinating everyone. 140 odd deaths from a flu virus is pretty good going (although obviously a tragedy for those who have lost people).

There is no indication this virus has mutated or will mutate and I'd like to know why there is this urgency, other than the need to control the public's feelings of panic and ensure the election goes smoothly?

I'm guessing this question won't be picked but there you go. I asked. At least read it and think about it please. Some of us are losing faith in the medical community to stand up to political pressure to do something (anything it seems) hmm

MonstrousMerryHenry Wed 28-Oct-09 00:50:28

Prof Salisbury, thank you so much for agreeing to take part in this webchat.

MN Towers - you guys get cooler by the minute. Well done.

My questions are:

1) I have heard from several sources that the SF vaccines were developed over a period of months, as opposed to the years normally devoted to developing vaccines. I have heard many reports of medics in this country and others, who have serious doubts about the vaccine for this reason. Why should we feel confident about the safety of a vaccine which has been rushed through?

2) I have heard that if the virus mutates the vaccinations may be useless. Is it also possible that over-vaccination may contribute to the virus mutating, much as the over-prescription of ABs has done?

3) What non-medical action can people take to help protect themselves from swine flu?

stuffitllllama Wed 28-Oct-09 01:53:54

"The man's a public health official. FGS. Be polite."


more later grin

MonstrousMerryHenry Wed 28-Oct-09 02:11:37

I did not know that some people already have immunity to SF. I think pre-vaccination testing is an excellent idea - it would certainly demonstrate a genuine commitment to public health rather than a commitment to pushing vaccines.

stuffitllllama Wed 28-Oct-09 05:09:51

He doesn't want to engage with me, or you, or any of us, and I don't expect him to. This is a public relations exercise, and nobody is going to catch him out, or make him say something he doesn't want to, or extract from him any information which isn't already in the public domain. If there is an announcement, or a reveal, it will have been planned beforehand. So it may look like he's being fresh and open but sadly that won't be the case.

I am tremendously polite, Wilf: I think I'm more polite than you on these boards. But I'm no forelock tugger, and if there's one group of people who should be asked tough questions and put on the spot -- hectored even -- it's public officials in every field.

Coolbeans if you think I'm "attacking" Dr Salisbury for "daring" to be a doctor then you don't know much about how badly many families have been affected by vaccine damage: and how consistently their concerns have been ignored by government representatives once trusted with their children's lives.

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