All public health decisions are taken by weighing the costs versus the benefits. And in this instance, the benefit of this vaccination programme far outweighs the costs. In the UK there are estimated to be 100 individuals who claim to have been affected by this vaccine out of the 4.8m who received it. While the most recent swine flu pandemic was nowhere near the scale of that in 1918, there were 28,465 cases in the UK and 392 deaths, and that is with the vaccination programme in place. It’s a daunting prospect to consider how these numbers would look had there been no vaccine available.
Given that Spain has recently reported its first case of diphtheria in 28 years – a disease considered by many doctors as the worst infectious disease to die from – it is important to represent vaccination news story clearly. There is no global big-pharma conspiracy here. Vaccines are not yet perfect, but they save millions of lives every year.