DoH denies setting date for swine flu vaccination programme

The DoH has denied that it has set a date for practices in England to receive the first batches of the swine flu vaccine, despite sending out a letter stating that practices could receive the vaccine by the 19 October.

Photograph: LEA PATERSON/SPL
Photograph: LEA PATERSON/SPL

The letter sent to PCTs in England last week by Professor David Salisbury, director of immunisation at the DoH, states that acute and mental health trusts will be the first to receive the vaccine.

The letter adds that PCTs could expect to start receiving the jabs by 14 October and practices by the 19 October at the earliest.

But speaking at a briefing in London last week, Professor Salisbury said that the dates were designed to show the NHS the length of time it takes for the jabs to become available.

‘It is conditional. We are dependent entirely on the manufacturers.'

The CMO for England Sir Liam Donaldson added that he anticipated that the vaccination programme would begin in the second half of October.

‘There are dates floating around, but we are not tying ourselves to any dates,' said Sir Liam.

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