HC Deb 01 July 1957 vol 572 cc690-1
53. Mr. Collins

asked the Minister of Health if the type of influenza now rife in south-east Asia has yet been identified; if he will give an assurance that the necessary steps, including the preparation of an adequate supply of vaccine, have been taken to combat it in this country; and if he will make a statement.

54. Sir C. Taylor

asked the Minister of Health what steps he is taking to prevent an outbreak of Asian influenza in this country; and what plans for vaccination or other preventive measures he is proposing to introduce.

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

My right hon. Friend cannot at present add anything to his replies to my hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, Central (Sir F. Medlicott) on 5th June and to the hon. Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Dodds) on 26th June.

Mr. Collins

Have any cases of Asian influenza been notified in this country, and, if so, have any proved fatal? Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the anxiety that there may not be available sufficient supplies of the vaccine should there be a large number of cases in this country? Can he give an assurance about that?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

A number of persons suffering from influenza have arrived and we are awaiting laboratory confirmation of what variety of influenza it is from which they are suffering. The vaccine is now being produced on a laboratory scale. It is being tested for efficacy, and the results will be known about mid-July, but in view of the rather mild nature of the disease, it should not be assumed that vaccination would necessarily be appropriate.

Sir C. Taylor

If there is any serious danger of an epidemic of this influenza, will my hon. Friend see that the general public are informed in good time from official sources what they should do?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

Yes, I will certainly bear that in mind.