DoH to target poultry workers in a flu jab drive

GPs may have to give free seasonal flu vaccines to up to 60,000 poultry workers, according to the DoH.

By protecting poultry workers from seasonal flu, the risk that a person will be infected with seasonal flu and bird flu will be cut.

It is feared that a person infected with both viruses at the same time could become a mixing vessel for a mutant form of avian flu that could be transmitted between humans. All poultry keepers will be sent information packs by the DoH, informing them of the programme, which will run from 22 January to 31 March.

A DoH spokesman said it was up to individual PCTs to administer the vaccines.

GPC chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said: ‘If GPs are involved then they will certainly have to be paid for it. PCTs have been given additional funding to do this. How PCTs decide to do it is up to them.’

Dr Meldrum said GPs should be paid at existing rates for vaccinating poultry workers.

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