UK swine flu vaccine approved

The European Medicines Agency (EMEA) has approved the use of the GSK vaccine Pandemrix, bringing the swine flu vaccination programme a step closer.

All that remains now is for the European Commission to grant European Union-wide marketing authorisations for the vaccine.

The UK has ordered 60 million doses of Pandemrix as well as supplies of a second vaccine produced by Baxter. However, the Baxter vaccine, Celvapan, has still to receive approval from the EMEA.

The EMEA is currently recommending a two-dose vaccination schedule, at an interval of three weeks, for adults, including pregnant women, and children from six months of age.

But the Committee acknowledged that there are preliminary data suggesting that one dose may be sufficient in adults.

The Agency is expecting further data from ongoing clinical studies over the coming months and these recommendations may be updated.

A DoH spokesman said: ‘We are pleased that the European regulator has recommended that the GSK vaccine should be granted a licence by the European Commission.

‘This is a positive step towards getting full licences for vaccine to protect the public.

‘The European Commission must now consider the recommendations and we hope for their decision as quickly as possible.'

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