UK swine flu vaccination to start, deaths pass 100

الخميس 1430/10/26 هـ الموافق 2009/10/15 م واس
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London, Oct 15, SPA --Britain, which has seen more than
100 deaths linked to the H1N1 swine flu virus, will start a
nationwide vaccination programme next week, Reuters cited its chief medical officer as saying today.
The UK is the latest to begin mass immunisation ahead of a
feared second wave of infections. Similar programmes are already
underway in the United States, China and Australia.
A total of 415,000 doses of GlaxoSmithKline's Pandemrix shot will be delivered from Oct. 21 to immunise
high-risk hospital patients and front-line healthcare workers.
"The programme will be rolling from next week," medical
chief Liam Donaldson told reporters.
From the week beginning Oct. 26, 4.4 million doses of
Pandemrix and 49,000 doses of Baxter's Celvapan will be
delivered to family doctors for patients in priority groups.
David Salisbury, director of immunisation, said Britain was
expecting more vaccines to come from Baxter but added: "We are
much less confident of their delivery schedule than we are of
GSK's" due to yield problems.
The government has previously said the first to be immunised
would be about 5 million people aged over six months in current
seasonal flu risk groups, all pregnant women, contacts of people
with compromised immune systems, and front-line health and
social care workers. In total, around 11 million people are in
line for the first phase of vaccination.
All those over 10 years of age receiving Glaxo's vaccine
will get a single shot, but children from six months to 9 years
will receive two doses, as will everybody receiving Celvapan.
Baxter's Celvapan, which is produced by cell culture, will
be mainly reserved for people with egg allergies.
Donaldson also said a further 15,000 doses of vaccine would
be offered to British troops serving in Afghanistan.
Responding to concerns about giving swine flu shots to
pregnant women, officials said they were confident the vaccines
were safe and offered a valuable protection against a
potentially dangerous disease.
"I do not want to see pregnant women dying of a preventable
disease -- that's the bottom line," Donaldson said.
Health officials said that in the past week there were an
estimated 27,000 new cases of H1N1 flu, up from around 18,000 in
the previous week, and the total number of deaths rose past 100.
--SPA