Parliamentary Question: seasonal influenza vaccination for people with ME, 31 October 2011

December 1, 2011


Chris Ruane MP (Labour, Vale of Clwyd) tabled a written question to the the Secretary of State for Health asking what his policy is on the provision of seasonal influenza vaccine by the NHS to people diagnosed with myalgic encephalopathy.

In a written answer on 31 October 2011, Anne Milton (Minister for Public Health) replied:

Myalgic encephalopathy (ME) is not a specific clinical risk group identified for influenza immunisation. ME is a poorly defined syndrome with a number of different characteristics in children and adults. As such, medical professionals are encouraged to consider individual patient circumstances for those diagnosed as having ME and use clinical judgment to take into account the risk of influenza exacerbating any underlying disease that any patient may have, as well as the risk of serious illness from influenza itself with vaccination offered in such cases.

2 thoughts on “Parliamentary Question: seasonal influenza vaccination for people with ME, 31 October 2011”

  1. ME is never poorly defined, so perhaps a clarification that the minister is really meaning the Governments made up category of CFS/ME. Every disease has different characteristics when you create a category that is a jumble of diseases to benefit the Governments purse. Or is that partly incorrect and it is also to prevent finding the cause of the disease? A cause that would have global implications for scientific research and healthcare.

    “Myalgic encephalopathy (ME) is not a specific clinical risk group identified for influenza immunisation”

    Doesn’t the NHS choices website say this is an at risk group?

    If, as has been hypothesised, human gamma retroviruses are the underlying cause of ME, immunisation will be dangerous at times and of no trouble for others due to the way these viruses are reactivated.

  2. Well, Anne Milton, it doesn’t HAVE to be a “poorly defined syndrome” any more…you’ve got the excellent new International Consensus Criteria available to all, so please do all in your powers to get it adopted in the UK as the gold-standard defintion of ME once and for all!

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