For those who would like to dig deeper into the issues surrounding swine flu and vaccination, it’s worth having a read of this interview with Dr Tom Jefferson, a medically trained epidemiologist who has long experience as a reviewer for the Cochrane Collaboration, examining the evidence around seasonal influenza vaccines.
The interview, conducted by Maryann Napoli from the Center for Medical Consumers in New York, raises many questions about the merits of our mass vaccination program for H1N1.
You can also read more about Jefferson’s views and work in this article from the European magazine, Der Spiegel, in this 2005 news release issued by the University of Oxford, at this Cochrane Collaboration site, and in this recent blog by a Scottish GP, Margaret McCartney, at the Financial Times website.
He is also lead author of this systematic review published a few days ago in the British Medical Journal, examining the use of physical interventions (eg handwashing, masks etc) to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses, such as influenza.
It seems like the issues around influenza vaccination generally – and swine flu vaccination in particular – may not be quite as clear cut as they’re often made out to be.