Critics of the new five-in-one vaccine to protect babies from infectious diseases are ‘misguided’, the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association (CPHVA) said today (Tuesday, 10 August).
The CPHVA said there are no grounds for believing that the new vaccine will overload a child’s immune system.
However, the CPHVA was critical of the Department of Health for failing to have the necessary information available for health professionals when the media was full of scare stories about the new vaccine due to be introduced next month.
The CPHVA director, Mark Jones said: ‘The new vaccine is an improvement on current immunisation policy. Instead of having a four-in-one vaccine for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and HIB, plus an oral polio vaccine comprising a ‘live’ virus, we will have a five-in-one vaccine, including an inactivated polio element. Additionally, there is no mixing of the vaccine involved, as previously, which adds to the safety element.’
‘Anti-vaccine campaigners are erroneously stating that the new vaccine risks overloading the immune system of a child. This is similar to the arguments used about MMR. We maintain, that as with MMR, there are no grounds whatsoever for this assumption and that a child's immune system can handle a challenge hundreds of times greater than this.
‘Any attempt to imply risk from the five-in-one vaccine through reference to the equally spurious allegations about MMR is misguided and can only serve to do harm to the nation's children.’
‘Health care professionals, especially health visitors and practice nurses, will come under a significant degree of questioning concerning the new vaccine and it is important they stick to the facts and promote the new vaccine as a safe and improved option.’
‘However, the Department of Health has once again failed to have the necessary information available for health professionals. We are staggered that a leak has occurred in the information management process and that the national press can be filled with scare stories before our members have been adequately briefed on the revised vaccination programme.’
‘Surely following the controversy about MMR, the Department of Health was anticipating concerns about the new vaccine? It is imperative they act immediately to provide healthcare professionals with the tools they need to convince an unnecessarily worried public that these changes are positive and of potential benefit.’