Britain launches mass swine flu jab programme

Updated: Oct 21, 2009, 00:00 AM IST

London: Britain launched a mass vaccination
programme to prevent the further spread of swine flu today,
with officials urging health-care workers and at-risk patients
to be first in line.

The jab will be available to more than 11 million people
deemed at highest risk from catching swine flu, who will be
contacted by their doctors.

As well as health workers, those who it is suggested
should take up the vaccination include all pregnant women,
some over 65s and people who live with those who have weakened
immune systems due to, for example, cancer treatment.

Patients will be vaccinated with Pandemrix, made by
British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, which says it has received
orders for 440 million doses ahead of the northern
hemisphere`s winter which could bring a second wave of the

"This is the first pandemic for which we have had vaccine
to protect people," said Liam Donaldson, the British
government`s top medical adviser.

"I urge everyone in the priority groups to have the
vaccine -- it will help prevent people in clinical risk groups
from getting swine flu and the complications that may arise
from it."

Britain is also offering swine flu vaccinations to all
its 9,000 troops in Afghanistan to protect them from a
possible mass outbreak, the Ministry of Defence said last

Bureau Report