"Doctors have been asked to trace all babies in Britain who have been injected in the past month with the meningitis C vaccine which was recalled on Wednesday after it emerged that it may be contaminated with a microbe that can cause potentially fatal blood poisoning.
The Department of Health also announced it is also going to test unused batches of the vaccine sent from Italy and stored in GP surgeries in the UK to see whether any of them are contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus, the same type of microbe responsible for the hospital-acquired infection MRSA.
The health department said it does not yet know how many of the 17,000 doses of meningitis C vaccine sent to GPs on 22 January and 20 February – but recalled on Wednesday night – have been used as part of the national childhood vaccination programme. However, it is likely to be in the hundreds or possibly thousands.
"We can, and are going to, track the vaccine to individual GP surgeries. GPs can then contact the patients who have had the injection. Although, as we've said, this is as a precautionary measure and we are not aware of any problems in the UK," a spokeswoman for the health department said."Some of the readers in the article in the link left comments saying that this type of bacteria is found in it's billions on our skins anyway .. well, parents don't know that! and they don't know what this bacteria will do when injected inside the bodies of their young babies either and so, parents will be scared by this incident!
Then again, I don't think that the officials at the DoH are so vindictive and as evil as to allow a harmful vaccine to cause fatality to British babies. The very fact that the 'pointy heads' knew of the possible contamination on Monday but did nothing until they were approached by 'The Independent' on Wednesday is proof enough to me that the vaccine is not harmful.
But it seems that the Dept of Health has itself been 'unnecessarily?' scared by the media into taking action re this 'contaminated?' vaccine, it is now trying to identify the babies who have already been injected and will also be testing the remaining vaccine for contamination before it is re-released for use. But, by saying that the recalled batch will be tested to make sure it is safe calls for the question; why doesn't the DoH test random samples from any imported medicines before they are released for use?! .. just in case .. and to avoid such scares ... and the costs of recall and the like?!
I do not think this recall and test is a good move myself as it confirms to the public that there is something wrong and that the dept was trying to cover it up. If the 'pointy heads' at the DoH are certain there is no harm from this vaccine then, why recall it?! Wouldn't it have been better, more reassuring and less costly to release an official statement through the press to explain exactly; the nature of this contamination, why the dept believes there is no risk to the public? the likelihood of it causing harm and how the dept generally ensures the safety of the public when importing medicines from abroad?
Meningitis C is a vicious disease that kills in hours if left untreated. I remember when two medical students at Imperial College died of it a few years ago .. everyone was broken hearted for the loss of such young lives so, this vaccine is vital if we are to protect people from its dangers. It would be a shame to see people being scared off vaccinating their children because of such media reports, especially if those reports prove to be unfounded.
This incident again highlights the role of the media when it comes to reporting matters that affects the health of the public, does the media have any limits to what it can publish? .. who sets those limits?
“Sometimes, it's the things that scare you most that are most worthwhile.”