Friday, 14 January 2011

Mail: give children vaccine that we said would kill them

Today's Mail has a very emotional splash:


It tells the sad story of a three-year-old girl who died after contracting swine flu. Her father, a doctor, believes that the only reason all young children haven't been vaccinated against flu is that it would be very expensive. The paper also carries a strongly worded editorial on the issue, complaining about a lack of reliable and consistent information coming out of government:

"...Parents can’t understand why last year it was necessary to vaccinate their children, but this year it isn’t. They want to know whether decisions are being driven by medical advice or budget constraints. Above all they want to know the real risk to their families. At the moment, they are not getting nearly enough information from Coalition ministers..."

But assuming the Government does a U-turn and suddenly announces that all under-fives need to be vaccinated, how many Mail-reading parents would be willing to have their child jabbed? After all, it's less than three months since the Mail on Sunday carried this scary headline:



The story also ran in the Mail itself a couple of days later. As Atomic Spin pointed out at the time, the truth was somewhat less apocalyptic. Mr Spin also warned that:

"If even one person decides not to get the jab because of this article, that’s one more potential infection this winter. One more potential flu death."
On 25 October last year, the Mail even complained that too many people were being vaccinated against as priority groups were being given the seasonal flu and swine flu vaccines in one jab, with no ability to opt out of having the swine flu element:

"The H1N1 vaccine will be the dominant of three flu strains included in the shot, meaning millions of elderly and vulnerable patients will get it automatically. Yet many people refused to have the swine flu vaccine when it was offered last year because of fears it may cause serious side effects."

It's also worth drawing attention to another piece of Mail doublethink. The splash headline claims that a "paltry £6" is all it would have taken to save the unfortunate girl's life. Of course, this is not at all accurate - the vaccine itself may have cost £6, but administration costs would increase this further and, crucially, she would only have been vaccinated as part of a much larger campaign that would have cost a great deal more. It's interesting to note the Mail's sudden interest in the cost of the jab. It's taking the same line as with various cancer drugs that are not paid for by the NHS because they are too expensive* - "how dare you put a price on the life of a sick child".

But back last summer, that's exactly what the Mail did:


Now I accept that there's a difference between £46 million and £6, but it would be interesting to know at exactly what point the Mail thinks a drug becomes too expensive on the basis of a society-wide cost-benefit analysis, not least because when NICE tries to do the same thing they get crucified by, er, the Daily Mail. And as I said above, the cost of saving Lana Ameen's life would have been much, much higher than the £6 cost of one dose of vaccine.

In conclusion, the Mail thinks that everyone should be given a vaccine that can kill them and that cost shouldn't be an issue but that we shouldn't spend too much on it.

And this is the paper that accuses the Government of not giving out clear and consistent information...

16 comments:

David said...

Nice analysis.

Raptop Lob said...

A great review of the contradictions of The Daily Fail!

BLC said...

Brilliant article.

Jon Pearson said...

Great post. Reminds me of when they were campaigning against the 'cervical cancer virus' hav for girls in UK and campaigning for it in Ireland.

Whatever emotional sounding reaction sells papers: print that.

Jon_S said...

Cracking post. Unfortunately, as we know, the Mail exists only to create profit for its owners, not provide serious news coverage or.

Also absent is any sense of responsibility, as Jon Pearson pointed out with the cervical cancer vaccine saga.

P. Stable said...

@Jon Pearson - that'll be the "promiscuity scheme" that the Mail was outraged by in Octber.

atomicspin said...

This is Daily Mail logic at it's finest.

Clearly we only need to vaccinate the people who are fated to die of swine flu. All those people who ask for the swine flu jab and then die of something else are just wasting taxpayers money! Quick, someone get Mystic Meg on the line.

Veer Wilde said...

Oh dear. It's amazing how they can get away with being so contradictory.

Twats.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, if he's a doctor and thinks it's medically necessary even if the NHS wouldn't pay for it why didn't he pay for it himself and give it to his daughter if it's that cheap. In the US you can walk into almost any Boots type place and get it in your arm there and then for $10. This years seasonal includes H1N1.

Kevin said...

Excellent takedown. I like it when people do proper investigations rather than knocking off another useless opinion piece.

Dan Garland said...

And now Mail says a Grandmother tragically died even after having the shot: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1347171/Grandmother-dies-swine-flu-AFTER-jab.html

I think the hysteria around flu is absurd, we shouldn't be spending money trying to vaccinate against it.

Anonymous said...

The Daily Mail do that sort of thing ALL the time. The latest is their scaremongering at random animal and bird deaths as if they are a biblical plague. All the instances have simple, unrelated, local explanations.

Anonymous said...

Have you heard this song about the Daily Mail? News Coorporation etc - it's a banger and could go viral and open some eyes if shared on twitter and facebook... http://soundcloud.com/roskolewis/what-youve-been-reading-by-rosko

Acidfairyy said...

Typical Daily Mail. If I had a child, there is no question I'd be trying to get them the jab.
People who don't vaccinate based on media scare stories make me so irrationally angry.

Ian said...

@ acidfairyy

You're wrong, People who don't vaccinate based on media scare stories make you angry for completely rational reasons.

Anonymous said...

25% of the mails online coverage is on cancer and 3% Is on Diana, even now - staggering! http://searchinsights.wordpress.com/2010/09/02/is-the-daily-mail-really-that-bad/