HEALTH officials have warned doctors of possible similarities between the new swine flu vaccine and a jab linked to 25 deaths in America in the 1970s.
The government’s Health Protection Agency (HPA), said in a letter to neurologists that they needed to look out for increases in cases of a brain disorder that might follow the launch of the immunisation programme.
The letter has been sent because of concerns sparked by studying of the swine flu vaccination campaign in America.
In 1976, Washington rushed in a mass immunisation programme against a swine flu outbreak that was confined to a single military base.
Several hundred cases of a rare, lethal, paralysing neurological disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) were reported afterwards, and although no clear link was ever found to the vaccine, the incident made many people mistrustful of immunisations.
Although the swine flu virus vaccine now close to completion is different from the one used in 1976, the HPA said the earlier incident nevertheless highlighted a possible area of concern.
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