In a startling move, the Threadbone Pharmaceuticals Ltd | Sur'Prizer 100% effective, extensively field-tested, Dorset Institute for Clinical Excellence-approved, orally-administered, anti-CONTIK-69 vaccine was withdrawn from use today "for an indefinite period and pending further investigations". The move follows reports of severe adverse reactions amongst 98% of those members of the ordinary public who had been given the vaccine. All existing stocks have been returned to the Threadbone Pharmaceuticals Ltd | Sur'Prizer laboratrories.
In addition to the side effects reported yesterday, authorities admitted that "other completely unexpected reactions" had been evident amongst survivors and that these had taken all involved [especially the patients] "completely by surprise".
A spokesperson for Damage Limitation Ltd - the Threadbone Corporation's new PR Division - would say only that there appeared to be "limited but admittedly slightly troubling evidence" that some patients were experiencing "minor allergic reactions to the hair tonic"*; though a spokesperson for DICE - Notar Fawlte - went further, admitting that of the 100 people to have been given the first of 10 doses of the vaccine, 98 had noticed, on waking this morning, large purple-coloured swellings ["eruptations" according to several sources] on the surface of their skin. These disfiguring patches [or "bubos"] were themselves associated with sweating, fever, violent headaches, vomiting, an inability to breath and, in an undisclosed number of cases, death.
*later corrected to anti-CONTRIK-69 vaccine
Speaking on behalf of her mother "who is no longer with us", a surprisingly upbeat Mrs Littel Ree-Morse said she had taken her mother "in all innocence and in good faith" to a nearby vaccine clinic as instructed by her GP. "I had no idea when I took her in there that I was more or less saying goodbye. She was hardly out of the door before she came over all queer - though I put it down to her not having had a prick in quite a while - I mean she was well over 80 and Dad didn't make it past 59. But by the time we got home, she had hideous boils over her ankles and legs and by this morning - well she looked like that smurf off the telly. I mean there's ways to go and ways to go - and this certainly isn't one of them. I don't think I'll ever get that bloody Father Abraham Song out of my head - she was screeching it til the last". "Anyway, I've had to change all the bedsheets - so there had better be compensation involved. There again what price can you put on a mithering old woman whose been the bane of your life for 30 years?". I suppose it's all God's way", she added philosophically.
Our Chief Medical Correspondent writes
Whilst members of the public will be reassured by the swift action taken by the authorities since news of a number of vaccine-related side-effects were reported, questions will remain about the systems which tested and approved the experimental hair tonic and why it was granted a license for use so swiftly and without the normal lengthy clinical trials*. Not the least of these questions will be how a vaccine which is normally stored at 200°C can be destroyed in a furnace capable of reaching only 150°C, and will Waitaminutes' 2 for 1 on selected tree lights still be available in the week before Christmas?
In tomorrow's edition:
CONTRIK-69: Is it the new bubonic plague?