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Liz Jones astonishing ignorance of Vaccines (and Africa)

A bizarre article by Liz Jones in the Mail today. Many of you will know her as a famously... naive is perhaps the best way of putting it... lifestyle columnist ( Today she writes about how terrible the NHS is because she couldn't get vaccinations for a trip to famine-stricken Somalia on a few day's notice.

Hepatitis B and Yellow Fever are among the vaccines she apparently tried to get. The Yellow Fever jab lasts ten years, while Hepatisis B gives immunity for about 25, which immediately speaks volumes about her experience in the region she's visiting.

The Hep B vaccine has to be delivered in three doses over a period of several months in order to build immunity (but protects for at least 25 years.) A journalist with any ambitions to travel the rougher parts of Africa, then you should have had these. They certainly can't be provided on demand, and even if Jones could get the vaccine, she wouldn't be protected against Hepatitis B for this trip. That she thinks she can is bizarre.

If she is this confused and lost just from the process of getting travel jabs, then god help us if she ever gets to Somalia. She seems profoundly unqualified for the trip, even ignoring the evidence from her writing.

On a more personal note: refugees and slum-dwellers I've met in East Africa are dignified, proud and capable people like you and me who typically make the best they can out of their lives. I'm already sick and tired of the trend of sending vacuous celebrities out there to point and cry at the people, and imply that they're noble savages rolling around fighting hyenas in the dirt - I think it's demeaning, and robs people of dignity, and I'm not convinced it helps all that much on the donations front. "Seeing the poor people" just becomes a bizarre celebrity badge-of-honour.

But that pales in to comparison with the idea of the Mail sending Liz Jones to the region, a chronic attention-seeker who thinks suffering is having to give up your seven-quid- a-tube toothpaste. It speaks volumes about how seriously they take the famine.
On Friday morning, I found I needed the NHS for the first time in about 20 years, and it let me down. Very badly.
Stuart Cooper's profile photoEd Yong's profile photoMichael Coolwood's profile photoDavid Warriet Edwards's profile photo
The comments on the article are excellent! :)
Yes. Actually she seems to get a lot of negative comments generally, it's bizarre. I did add a comment myself (an abridged version of this post), but it hasn't come through moderation yet...
It always feels so futile to get annoyed by anything in the Mail, but my inner doctor's receptionist can't help it. I love that 'if it's an emergency go to A and E'. Quite.
Hopefully this means she either won't get a visa (though I've never been asked to prove my vaccination status when buying a visa in Africa) or she will not feel protected enough to travel. Either way Somalia may be spared her presence.

The attempt to link the GP receptionist that won't break the rules with those at Winterbourne View that broke many rules is bizarre.
Words fail me. Her article seems to just be a long version of "do you know who I AM?"
Ed Yong
I actually think that sending Liz Jones to the most inhospitable places in the world and filming it would make comedy gold.
bizarre indeed! I do hope that she has the sense to use a pseudonym should she ever be involved in an emergency, here or abroad
I work as a receptionist in a GP surgery. This stuff happens




We get at least one person per week who is really surprised that we can't get them an appointment for travel vaccinations within a few days. Our surgery are slightly more helpful, though, as we just bounce them to a private travel clinic. I wonder what it is about travel (something you have to plan months in advance) that makes people so disorganised...
+Mike Morwood Quite! Also, I imagine that serious news organisations which require their journalists[sic] to travel to vaccine-requiring parts of the world have arrangements with clinics to provide travel vaccinations. The entire LJ piece was a manufactured excuse for a rant.about the NHS.Will we see further nonsense about the lack of 5 star facilities in Somalia for such a Very Important Person?
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