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Tired of Waiting

Flu Cost To The Uk Economy: 300,000 Sick Workers / Week

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Flu has killed 50 people since October. That is the most important issue, of course. But even if we see this topic on economic terms:

Number of people unable to work every week due to flu. 300.000. Every week. This affects the UK economy, and tax revenues, of course.

BUT: Cost of a flu vaccine dose (in 2010) : £4.74 per dose. (Yep, less than a fiver.)

And yet, the NHS has never offered vaccination to the whole population (either under Labour or now).

Why TF not?! Many private companies do it! Why? "Charity"?! No! Just bleeding common sense!

What are the NHS priorities?! :angry:

That reminds me of Alan Johnson saying in the Andrew Marr programme 1 or 2 years ago, when he was still the Health Minister, that "the NHS is very good at taking care of... itself."

:angry:

And why the UK press very rarely mentions the vaccine's cost/dose? Can't they handle any data, at all?! That is not rocket science is it? :angry:

______________________

Source for 300,000 workers/week: BBC Radio 4

Source for vaccine cost:

Influenza

Office National Statistics

Statistical Publication Notice

31 August 2010

"(...) average cost per dose (...) £4.74." (2010)

http://www.isdscotland.org/isd/6365.html

Edited by Tired of Waiting

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A flu jab only stops you getting that particular type of flu. This year they put 3 types into the jab. Don't think they normally do that though.

There are millions of flu viruses and they have to take a guess on which one will be the killer this year.

Flu mutates. There is no benefit to mass vaccination. People would still get the flu. Probably whilst in queues to get the jab.

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A flu jab only stops you getting that particular type of flu. This year they put 3 types into the jab. Don't think they normally do that though.

There are millions of flu viruses and they have to take a guess on which one will be the killer this year.

Flu mutates. There is no benefit to mass vaccination. People would still get the flu. Probably whilst in queues to get the jab.

I heard flu vaccines include many viruses strains. Well, at least "good practice" would do that. I don't know if the NHS would/does. I did hear an NHS doctor on Radio 4 saying that this year's vaccine includes the swine flu strain. But medicine/biology is not my field. So, you may be right.

I still find very hard to believe that it wouldn't be nationally cost effective to vaccinate the whole population. Otherwise, why would private companies do that? Not to mention the little "side-issue" of saving lives, of course...

Edited by Tired of Waiting

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I am generally against vaccination as it only makes mutations quicker. The flu is generally a rather benign illness, it kills one way or another several thousands a year but they are weaker people like the elderly and it precipitate death rather than kill out right.

Re sick days, it is always the same story, if you are a contractor you are rarely sick and the flu will only last a couple of day with you, if you are a permanent you tend for some reason (...) to be sick a lot more often and longer, especially on Mondays and Fridays, after a football match or returning from holiday, go figure...

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Spend £89 million on a product that has a chance of saving 200 lives, plus you get a nice dosage of mercury.

Sign me up.

£89 million NET cost?

Aren't you forgetting the other side of it? The production and tax revenues lost by having 300,000 workers out every week for 2 or 3 months?

Edit: OK, I've found your "source" re Mercury. The Express :rolleyes: But even if they use "a preservative made with a form of mercury" (interesting, a form of a chemical element... :huh: ), just make them without that "form", like in the USA and many parts of Europe. Simple.

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/222000/Child-flu-vaccine-contains-mercuryChild-flu-vaccine-contains-mercury#ixzz1AubNsSsF

Edited by Tired of Waiting

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£89 million NET cost?

Aren't you forgetting the other side of it? The production and tax revenues lost by having 300,000 workers out every week for 2 or 3 months?

I don't really buy the argument that you often get in newspapers or TV journalism, where they say "every sick day costs the UK economy x billion pounds" or "traffic costs the UK economy x million pounds an hour" etc.

The vast majority of people are frankly not that important. If you miss a couple of days of work, your coworkers will do it instead or you can just make it up when you get back. Either way, the work will get done. Even if it doesn't, if you or your manager are prioritising properly, the work that doesn't get done will be the lowest value stuff anyway.

The UK economy is not like an Olympic sprinter operating at peak efficiency over 100m, it's a bunch of people pottering about here, doing a bit of necessary stuff there, then going home to their families at night. There is enough slack in the system for sickness to make little or no difference.

(And before anyone asks, I am self employed in the private sector!)

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Number of people unable to work every week due to flu. 300.000. Every week. This affects the UK economy, and tax revenues, of course.

It is not the NHS' job to protect the finances of companies and government organisations. Shouldn't employers be paying for this? - if it's really affecting their business, then it should be in their interests to pay for it.

(And +1 to the post above about contractors seemingly being less sick and recovering more quickly, and private sector having fewer sick days than public.)

Edited by mikthe20

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I don't really buy the argument that you often get in newspapers or TV journalism, where they say "every sick day costs the UK economy x billion pounds" or "traffic costs the UK economy x million pounds an hour" etc.

The vast majority of people are frankly not that important. If you miss a couple of days of work, your coworkers will do it instead or you can just make it up when you get back. Either way, the work will get done. Even if it doesn't, if you or your manager are prioritising properly, the work that doesn't get done will be the lowest value stuff anyway.

The UK economy is not like an Olympic sprinter operating at peak efficiency over 100m, it's a bunch of people pottering about here, doing a bit of necessary stuff there, then going home to their families at night. There is enough slack in the system for sickness to make little or no difference.

(And before anyone asks, I am self employed in the private sector!)

I agree partially with you, the production losses are not always 100%. Sure. On the other hand there are also situations where when 1 worker doesn't shows up a whole team can't work. One example: a Dentist friend a few weeks ago, very annoyed 'cause his nurse failed to show up, he couldn't find an agency nurse in such a short notice, and had to close the surgery for the day. No work was done, all patients cancelled.

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It is not the NHS' job to protect the finances of companies and government organisations. Shouldn't employers be paying for this? - if it's really affecting their business, then it should be in their interests to pay for it.

What about "joined-up thinking"?

The NHS needs money too, right?

Who pays for the NHS?

For health sake, you can't ignore the economy. It can / should be a virtuous cycle: The healthier the economy, more money for the NHS. The healthier the population, stronger the economy. There is a strong link between health and economy. (BTW, many poor African countries are poor because their populations are too sick. And their populations are too sick because their countries are poor.)

It is the job of the Government to take care of both of these issues, and ensure the best allocation of resources. What I am saying here is that I am quite sure it is a false economy (for the country as a whole) to save money on flu vaccines.

(And +1 to the post above about contractors seemingly being less sick and recovering more quickly, and private sector having fewer sick days than public.)

I agree with that too. But that is a different issue.

Edited by Tired of Waiting

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One example: a Dentist friend a few weeks ago, very annoyed 'cause his nurse failed to show up, he couldn't find an agency nurse in such a short notice, and had to close the surgery for the day. No work was done, all patients cancelled.

So what happens? The appointments get moved to other days and the dentist is slightly busier for a little while.

No doubt there will be a loss (e.g. patients who don't rebook) but it will be on the order of 10% for the days missed, not 100%.

10% lower revenue for a few days a year equals a difference of 0.x%. That is the kind of number that gets lost in the noise.

Edited by Dorkins

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Are you sure about that?? Any source? Do you have some professional knowledge in the field? (I don't.)

It is not quite accurate, the vaccine creates an environment that makes it difficult for the viruses it targets to reproduce. It therefore encourages evolutions of the virus rather than mutations. The problem is nowhere near as bad as with antibiotics. I do not have professional knowledge in this field but have relatives who do.

The question I suppose is how effective is the flu jab? It is obviously very effective at protecting you against the strain it targets but would there be anymore flu and flu-like illnesses if no one go vaccinated? Considering that new strains are usually different from the last? For example (crap anecdote, I will give you that), I have only ever had the flu once in the past 20 years (this year, and I am not even sure it was the flu), and have never been vaccinated, so in my case it isn't the jab that is preventing me from getting the flu.

I see a point in vaccinating exposed (NHS) or vulnerable (elderly) people (since the jab doesn't do much harm anyway), but I see no point vaccinating everyone. There are many reason to be off-sick: hangover, vomiting bug, cold, migraine... we are not going to vaccinate for everything and anything are we?

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A flu jab only stops you getting that particular type of flu. This year they put 3 types into the jab. Don't think they normally do that though.

There are millions of flu viruses and they have to take a guess on which one will be the killer this year.

Flu mutates. There is no benefit to mass vaccination. People would still get the flu. Probably whilst in queues to get the jab.

The seasonal flu jab usually has 3 strains selected (/guessed) about this time of year for delivery to GPs etc each autumn. The exception to this was the pandemic flu jab which was seperate and addtional to the seasonal flu jab. The latest pandemic flu jab is very similar to the 1918 "Spanish" flu

Thought there are many strains of flu they can be categorised into types and vaccinating with a strain from the same type will usually provide good protection against others of the same type. There are 16 H and 9 N subtypes known of which a smaller subset are usually found in humans: H 1, 2 and 3, and N 1 and 2, hence the difficulties caused by the H5N1 strain which last did the rounds as a seasonal flu in the 1950s so the baby boomer seem to have some immunity to it!

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(...)

There are many reason to be off-sick: (hangover), vomiting bug, cold, migraine... we are not going to vaccinate for everything and anything are we?

If we had vaccines for these and other diseases, why not??

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So what happens? The appointments get moved to other days and the dentist is slightly busier for a little while.

No doubt there will be a loss (e.g. patients who don't rebook) but it will be on the order of 10% for the days missed, not 100%.

10% lower revenue for a few days a year equals a difference of 0.x%. That is the kind of number that gets lost in the noise.

That day's work will never be recovered. It is not like we have a spare capacity in dental services in Britain, is it? And patients endured pain for longer, were re-booked but next patients had to wait for longer, etc. It was a days work wasted, and less taxes will be paid to the government.

Do you really think that 300,000 workers out of work for 3 months won't affect governbmet tax receipts?

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The seasonal flu jab usually has 3 strains selected (/guessed) about this time of year for delivery to GPs etc each autumn. The exception to this was the pandemic flu jab which was seperate and addtional to the seasonal flu jab. The latest pandemic flu jab is very similar to the 1918 "Spanish" flu

Thought there are many strains of flu they can be categorised into types and vaccinating with a strain from the same type will usually provide good protection against others of the same type. There are 16 H and 9 N subtypes known of which a smaller subset are usually found in humans: H 1, 2 and 3, and N 1 and 2, hence the difficulties caused by the H5N1 strain which last did the rounds as a seasonal flu in the 1950s so the baby boomer seem to have some immunity to it!

Thanks for that KB.

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People are supposed to get sick. I can sort of see the point of picking out certain vulnerable groups at certain times for things. Even then not so sure. As for everyone ? Don't think so. Although I do happily get my tetanus jab and all so I am perhaps a bit of a hypocrite.

Then again unless you are already ill/weakened immune system the flu is unlikely to do you any serious harm. And may in fact help you in future against getting other viruses (See chat in off topic).

If we keep 'curing' everything nature wil just create something else to ****** us over with. Thats not to say we shouldnt try and find cures for most things. However for things that are usually an inconvinence and only really harm/kill those who are already rather ill ?

It may seem harsh but I reckon these things are probably better left to their own devices.

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Then again unless you are already ill/weakened immune system the flu is unlikely to do you any serious harm. And may in fact help you in future against getting other viruses (See chat in off topic).

You obviously don't know how vaccines work. They give you the immunity without having to go through the full blow disease. One very encouraging discovery is that the Swine flu vaccine protects against many other influenza virus such as 1918. It may well be the basis of a one shot lifetime protection against all flu strains, no more of the annual flu shots.

I had my first contact with Swine flu. The wife caught it at her hospital where the patents were vomiting and shitting for days. A few days later she and all the nurses started with symptoms. Wife and I took Tamiflu; her fever went within a few hours and she fell shit for two days. I however went from feeling slightly sick at bedtime to perfectly healthy the next day.

The other nurses spent a few days with fever, vomiting and diarrhea. So I don't know about the Vaccine, but Tamiflu worked for me.

Edited by Peter Hun

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People are supposed to get sick. I can sort of see the point of picking out certain vulnerable groups at certain times for things. Even then not so sure. As for everyone ? Don't think so. Although I do happily get my tetanus jab and all so I am perhaps a bit of a hypocrite.

Then again unless you are already ill/weakened immune system the flu is unlikely to do you any serious harm. And may in fact help you in future against getting other viruses (See chat in off topic).

If we keep 'curing' everything nature wil just create something else to ****** us over with. Thats not to say we shouldnt try and find cures for most things. However for things that are usually an inconvinence and only really harm/kill those who are already rather ill ?

It may seem harsh but I reckon these things are probably better left to their own devices.

As you say "(flu) may in fact help you in future against getting other (similar) viruses"

Exactly as a vaccine does, but without the week of pain and lost productivity/life/leisure.

You seem to be a little attracted by Luddism CCC.

I am all in favour of "curing everything". And in fact, it seems that we are just 2 or 3 decades away from it. I am very happy about that.

Life is to be enjoyed, not suffered.

Edited by Tired of Waiting

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You obviously don't know how vaccines work. They give you the immunity without having to go through the full blow disease. One very encouraging discovery is that the Swine flu vaccine protects against many other influenza virus such as 1918. It may well be the basis of a one shot lifetime protection against all flu strains, no more of the annual flu shots.

I had my first contact with Swine flu. The wife caught it at her hospital where the patents were vomiting and shitting for days. A few days later she and all the nurses started with symptoms. Wife and I took Tamiflu; her fever went within a few hours and she fell shit for two days. I however went from feeling slightly sick at bedtime to perfectly healthy the next day.

The other nurses spent a few days with fever, vomiting and diarrhea. So I don't know about the Vaccine, but Tamiflu worked for me.

Ah nice edit of your post to pretty much agree with what I was saying based on the info you just read in of topic. :D

I do know how vaccines work at a very basic level - and for the flu vaccine you have to get it every year. So it is not comparable to getting some sort of flu once - and then never getting it again in your entire life. If anyone had the choice of the 2 it is pretty clear what most would take !! Of course there are risks involved.

Something like Mumps or the like. I got it when young and was told I was very lucky as for adult men it can cause serious issues. Now apparently I will not get it ever again. Thats a pretty decent result.

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As you say "(flu) may in fact help you in future against getting other (similar) viruses"

Exactly as a vaccine does, but without the week of pain and lost productivity/life/leisure.

You seem to be a little attracted by Luddism CCC.

I am all in favour of "curing everything". And in fact, it seems that we are just 2 or 3 decades away from it. I am very happy about that.

Life is to be enjoyed, not suffered.

Not at all. I just think in some ways as we think we are getting 'more advanced' we are actually moving backwards.

Look at the issues we have with old age not that we try and keep everyone alive for as long as humanly possible. Do you really think this is beneficial to the human race as a whole. Compared to just 'letting go' of many people who are on their way out anyway ?

Now of course I may change my tune if on my death bed. However that would be for purely personal selfish reasons. As for the bigger picture I don't think many of our 'advances' actually help us at all !! Just give that illusion, whilst creating more new issues at the same time.

As for the flu/virus/jab chat - have a read what I said in the other post. Comparing a one off year long immunity to potental life long imunity is not reasonable.

Then again - that sort of goes against my 'Let people die' chat doesn't it :lol:

As for enjoying life - totally agree. I think part of enjoying life is appreciating when you are fit and healthy and taking advantage of it.

Personally I think if we 'cure' all diseases within the near future a lot of people will go mental. I don't think it would sit right with us as a species.

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Do you really think that 300,000 workers out of work for 3 months won't affect governbmet tax receipts?

Not in any noticeable way, no. There are something like 25m full time workers in the UK. 300k is 1% of that. If you are running your business or government so close to the edge that a 1% shift in revenue this way or that means you fail catastrophically, then you are going to fail catastrophically anyway.

Rather than implement a questionable programme of universal flu vaccination with marginal benefits, I would prefer to see healthcare cut back to core services. Cuba has a life expectancy just short of ours despite only spending a couple of hundred USD per person per year on healthcare because they get the basics right: life-threatening infectious diseases, A&E, routine surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology. The NHS is so far up the curve of diminishing returns that it's just unreal. I worked in medical research in a hospital for a number of years and would regularly hear about patients that the NHS had spent millions of pounds on (and were essentially just managing symptoms). A million pounds is more than most people will earn in a lifetime. Is it really worth spending several lifetimes worth of effort on keeping a terminally ill patient alive (and suffering) for a few more years? What about the freedom of those paying the taxes to spend time with their kids, go to the beach, read a book? You know, to actually live instead of working all hours to pay for the construction and maintenance of expensive and largely ineffective medical equipment?

Rather than the endless creeping intrusion of the state into every part of our lives, I would prefer to have no pointless wars, no diversity coordinators, no housing benefit scammers, no £10k a month cancer drugs for patients who are terminally ill anyway, no degrees in Tourism Studies, no Olympic corruptionfests, no HS2, no winter fuel credit, no nursery vouchers, none of the unnecessary fluff which is sucking the life out of the good parts of the public sector and leaving people taxed into exhaustion. The state in the UK is already too big, we do not need more of it.

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It is not quite accurate, the vaccine creates an environment that makes it difficult for the viruses it targets to reproduce. It therefore encourages evolutions of the virus rather than mutations. The problem is nowhere near as bad as with antibiotics. I do not have professional knowledge in this field but have relatives who do.

The question I suppose is how effective is the flu jab? It is obviously very effective at protecting you against the strain it targets but would there be anymore flu and flu-like illnesses if no one go vaccinated? Considering that new strains are usually different from the last? For example (crap anecdote, I will give you that), I have only ever had the flu once in the past 20 years (this year, and I am not even sure it was the flu), and have never been vaccinated, so in my case it isn't the jab that is preventing me from getting the flu.

I thought that Tamiflu 'creates an environment that makes it difficult for the viruses it targets to reproduce', it is an antivirus. A vaccine creates templates that hang around in the blood so the immune system picks them up. You get an immune system response and then the immune system can recognise those templates or the virus that they are from as intruders quickly. Quite what the difference between what the immune system does with a recognised intruder versus an unrecognised one I don't know, but I believe it is pretty effective at stopping recognised viruses from reinfecting you. ( Has anyone got chicken pox, not shingles, twice? )

I had the flu jab last year. I have yet to have flu, but have had a few colds. I didn't have flu last winter either and didn't get a jab in 2009. The issue the NHS has is that they have to predict the level of flu jabs. Maybe they should more strongly encourage everyone to get them every year. Maybe it would save GPs and hospitals some money, but it would have to be a consistently high turn out to be predictable and effective.

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Number of people unable to work every week due to flu. 300.000. Every week. This affects the UK economy

Nah, the healthy can pick up the slack. Capitalism needs us to take decent sick breaks when we are ill to give us a break from people we may otherwise slaughter if we had to tolerate them with a cold bug as well.

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