Ex-chief medical officer blames higher 2010 death toll on dropping of publicity campaign and less use of antivirals
The government’s failure to launch a publicity campaign urging people to get a flu jab may have contributed to a rise in deaths in the year after the flu pandemic, according to the former chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson.
In a new paper, Donaldson, who led the fight against the flu pandemic in 2009 but stepped down when the coalition took power in May 2010, says the change of government response was the key difference between the two years and criticises the “laissez-faire” attitude of Andrew Lansley’s Department of Health.
Public health experts lined up to agree with the analysis. In a GP magazine article, the Faculty of Public Health president, Prof Lindsey Davies, said: “It is a source of great concern that lives may have been lost because people were not reminded of the risks of flu and how to avoid getting it.”