Thursday, 29 October 2009

Smarties and Liquorice Allsorts

I'm sure there are many urban myths, friend-of-a-friend stories and complete fabrications surrounding swine flu so I'm happy to officially dismiss one now: when you get a flu jab (swine or winter flu) it doesn't cause you to get a mild dose of the very flu it's trying to protect you from. The vaccine is 'dead'. There is, says Dr Nigel Calvert, associate director of public health for Cumbria, no way it can give you flu. But he acknowledged that it is a widespread myth doing the rounds. He was speaking at a press conference in Cumbria to launch the vaccination programme. My favourite quote came when he was trying to explain that as a flu vaccine is "not such a new vaccine". In effect, it's just another winter flu vaccine. Dr Calvert went on: "It's a red Smartie, not a blue one" and added "it's certainly not a Liquorice Allsorts"! Hans Rosling would be proud of him!

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