HC Deb 15 December 1989 vol 163 c836W
Mr. Barry Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the availability of influenza vaccine in Wales.

Mr. Grist

In the advice issued to all family practitioner committees and district health authorities in September, general vaccination to control the spread of influenza was not recommended. However, it was advised that persons at special risk (for example, those with chronic pulmonary, heart or renal disease) should be considered for vaccination.

There are at present adequate supplies of the vaccine already in Wales, or available from the stocks held centrally by the manufacturers, to ensure that all individuals in the special risk category are vaccinated if they wish.

Mr. Barry Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the current levels of influenza attacks in Wales.

Mr. Grist

An increase in influenza reports from general practitioners was noted in the second week of November. The first practices to report large numbers of cases were in East Dyfed, Mid Glamorgan and West Glamorgan. Practices in Clwyd, Gwent, Gwynedd and South Glamorgan began to report increased numbers of cases by the beginning of December.

The pattern of reporting has been firstly an increase in cases in children followed within two weeks by an increase in adult cases. The rates in children in practices in Mid Glamorgan and West Glamorgan declined in the past week but the incidence in adults has yet to show a reduction.

If the current outbreak behaves as did the smaller outbreak which affected south Wales in 1988–89 it would be expected that the incidence in children will substantially decline by the end of December. In adults, however, the outbreak is developing more slowly and its course is therefore difficult to predict.

Data supplied from the public health laboratories at Cardiff, Swansea and Rhyl indicate the main virus responsible for this outbreak is influenza A, although there are other viruses circulating among young children. Many adults would be expected to have a degree of immunity to the strain.

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