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Concerns raised over flu vaccine

The inventor of the flu jab has claimed that the vaccine will do little to prevent a flu epidemic from breaking out in Britain this winter.

And Australian scientist, Dr Graeme Laver, who was part of the team which created the vaccine, believes it should not solely be relied upon to protect the UK from a flu epidemic.

He also claims that people's lives could be saved if prescription-only drugs such as Tamiflu and Relenza were used once the disease has already struck.

He told the Daily Mail: "I have never been very impressed with its (the jab's) efficacy. It is better than nothing and I wouldn't want to advise people not to take it, but you can't rely on it doing any good.

"If the seasonal flu is as bad as it was in Australia, you are in for a pretty bad time. You could have a really severe epidemic."

A Department of Health spokeswoman admitted that the jab might not work in all cases but said UK policy is constantly reviewed in the light of new evidence and research.

She said: "The aim of the government's influenza policy is to protect those who are most at risk of serious illness or death should they develop influenza.

"Although vaccination may not protect all people from the flu virus infection, experts advise that the majority of those immunised benefit by suffering a less severe illness."

Department of Health

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