Decisions about vaccination are made on the basis of a risk assessment of the potential threat. To date, no members of the emergency services have been vaccinated against anthrax. As part of our national emergency preparedness strategy, a stockpile of licensed anthrax vaccine is maintained.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 25 March 2008 (WA 81), how many current members of the emergency services have been vaccinated for smallpox; how many of those have had adverse complications; and what is the status of the programme of vaccination which commenced in 2008. [HL1094]
A cohort of frontline health workers was vaccinated in 2005 to deal with any initial suspected or confirmed case of smallpox if they were to occur. The cohort comprised a total of 516 vaccinated personnel of whom 147 were doctors, 164 were nurses, 100 were ambulance staff, 32 were scientists and 73 held other related healthcare occupations. All were carefully screened and monitored and none had adverse complications that required vaccinia immunoglobulin. In order to maintain their protection against smallpox, a programme of revaccination commenced in 2008 and is ongoing. There is no proposal to increase the numbers of people in the cohort.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to vaccinate for smallpox and anthrax (a) members of the emergency services who will be involved in the London 2012 Olympic Games, and (b) others likely to be involved in transportation, stewarding and activities within the Olympic village during the games; and whether such treatment will be voluntary. [HL1095]
The current risk assessment for the 2012 Olympic Games does not indicate any need to change the current national preparedness arrangements in relation to smallpox or anthrax. There are, therefore, no plans to introduce vaccination against anthrax for any of those involved in the Games nor to increase the numbers of people in the current cohort of healthcare workers who are vaccinated against smallpox. This risk assessment, as with all other assessments, will be kept under review in the context of the Games, as will our systems for the detection of, and response to, infectious diseases in the United Kingdom and any new challenges they may present.