DoH considers swine flu vaccine for travellers

Travellers could be offered the swine flu vaccine this summer, suggests a DoH committee.

The department's Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation said the pandemic flu vaccine could be given to protect those travelling to the southern hemisphere during its seasonal flu season.

In the last fortnightly swine flu briefing, CMO Sir Liam Donaldson said the DoH was ‘currently exploring how the advice might best be implemented'.

RCGP immunisation lead Dr George Kassianos, also honorary secretary of the British Travel Health Association, welcomed the advice.

He recommended that travel clinics consider both pandemic and annual flu vaccines for such travellers, as well as travellers on cruises.

‘Some of the other passengers and/or crew members may be coming from the southern hemisphere bringing with them the influenza virus,' he said.

He said that there had been many reported cases of outbreaks of influenza on cruise ships at recent International Society of Travel Medicine conferences.

Stephen Robinson

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