Is Liz Jones’ private GP competent to vaccinate?
Liz Jones’ article in the Sunday Mail about her being ‘let down’ by the NHS because she couldn’t get her pre-Somalia (WTF?) vaccinations done at the drop of a hat is so startling in its lack of self-awareness that it’s very hard to believe it’s not self-parody.
On the other hand, it is Liz Jones.
It being Liz Jones, I wouldn’t normally bother with comment. She’s really not worth it. But this bit of her article is (unbeknownst to Ms Jones) interesting:
In order to obtain a visa, I am required to be inoculated against hepatitis A and B, yellow fever, typhoid, diphtheria, tetanus, polio and so on. On Thursday, I called my GP, a private GP, in London’s Sloane Street.
‘Yes, Miss Jones, come in any time.’ And so I did. But my doctor could only give me the ‘live’ vaccine, yellow fever; the other jabs would have to be done the following day (my emphasis).
It’s interesting because, if true (and if my interpretation is correct), it looks like Ms Jones’ private GP may be in need of some training.
There may well be a lay perception that live vaccines like Yellow Fever cannot be given on the same day as other ‘jabs’, but it is not true.
The Department of Health’s ‘Green Book’ on ‘Immunisation against infectious disease’ (Chapter 35 on Yellow Fever) is quite clear:
Yellow fever vaccine can be given at the same time as other inactivated and live vaccines. The vaccines should be given at separate sites, preferably in a different limb. If given in the same limb, they should be given at least 2.5cm apart (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2003).
Even more importantly, the way in which antibodies are stimulated by live vaccines means that all live vaccines (including cholera and polio) SHOULD be given on the same day so as not to render them less effective. As this GP training website makes clear:
Live vaccines (Polio and Yellow Fever), must be given either together or three weeks apart.
If we assume that her GP, based as s/he is in Sloane Street, routinely provides vaccinations for (rich) overseas travellers, then there must be at least some suspicion that s/he has been advising many people poorly on when they can or can’t have their jabs, to the extent that s/he may be endangering her/his patients’ health.
I wish Ms Jones no physical harm, however repulsive her views. My advice to her is that she might be better enrolling with an NHS GP who, with the appropriate clinical and training networks provided by the NHS, may be more likely to be clinically up to date than a Sloane Street doctor.