Exclusive - PCTs launching propaganda drive to promote swine flu jab

PCTs yet to choose who will be offered vaccination.

Two-thirds of PCTs are launching communication plans to persuade GPs and other health workers to take up the swine flu jab.

However, almost half have yet to decide which groups of health workers will receive the jabs, information obtained by GP under the Freedom of Information Act shows.

Of 33 PCTs that responded, 22 said they would be undertaking work to encourage health professionals and those in at-risk groups to take up the vaccine.

Professor Lindsey Davies, England's director of pandemic influenza preparedness, spoke to GP last week about the importance of GPs choosing to be vaccinated.

'It is absolutely important that GPs have the swine flu jab to protect themselves and their patients. I can't stress this strongly enough,' she said.

'We have been working hard with the BMA and the RCGP to think of ways of increasing swine flu vaccine uptake.'

Professor Davies also denied the vaccine was being rushed through. 'We do not want to expose people to greater risk,' she said. 'We have some supplies of the vaccine in the country but it is going through licensing, we are not rushing this.'

PCTs will also need to make decisions about which health workers should be included in local plans. But just 16 PCTs said they had decided which staff would be vaccinated.

The DoH has said that community pharmacists should be offered the vaccine, along with health professionals listed in the Green Book - the NHS vaccination handbook.

It is up to PCTs to make decisions about which other groups, such as receptionists and managers should be offered the jab.

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