DoH announces priority groups for swine flu jab

Infants from as young as six months who have chronic health conditions and pregnant women will be among the first to receive the swine flu vaccination, the DoH has announced.

(Photograph: IAN HOOTON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY)
(Photograph: IAN HOOTON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY)

It has also been confirmed that GPs will be able to give the swine flu jab at the same time as the seasonal flu jab. Watch the video for further details on the programme from Professor David Salisbury, the director of immunisation.

Infants from as young as six months who have chronic health conditions and pregnant women will be among the first to receive the swine flu vaccination, the DoH has announced.

All individuals aged six months to 65 years in the seasonal flu at-risk groups, pregnant women, all household contacts of immunno-comprised individuals and individuals over the age of 65 in the current seasonal flu risk groups will be made priority groups for the vaccine.

Frontline healthcare workers such as GPs and practice nurses will also receive the jab ‘in parallel' to the priority groups.

GPs will be expected to begin vaccinating patients in the priority groups, starting with those aged six months to 65 years in the seasonal flu risk groups, from October.

Speaking at a briefing in central London on Thursday, Sir Liam Donaldson, the CMO for England, said that all patients in priority groups should receive the vaccine by the end of December.

The announcement of the priority groups comes as the number of cases of swine flu continues to fall in England.

There was an estimated 25,000 new cases in England in the last week compared with 30,000 the previous one.

Rates of hospitalisations and the number of patients in critical care also fell, although there were eight more deaths bringing the total to 44 for England and 49 for the UK.

Sir Liam said that as the number of cases declines, the flu hotline will be scaled down from 1,500 call centre workers at its launch to between 200 and 600 from 23 August.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

VISIT OUR SWINE FLU RESOURCE CENTRE


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