Second swine flu jab is approved

The swine flu vaccine developed by drug firm Baxter has been given the green light for approval by the European Medicines Agency (EMEA).

The EMEA has granted a 'positive opinion' for Baxter's Celvapan H1N1 pandemic vaccine. It now needs final marketing authorisation by the European Commission before being made available.

The UK government has contracts to buy swine flu vaccine from GSK and Baxter. The GSK vaccine Pandemrix received a 'positive opinion' last month.

England's CMO Sir Liam Donaldson said last week that the vaccination programme would start in the second half of October 'if all goes to plan'.

This would depend on manufacturers' ability to deliver predicted supplies, he said.

Professor David Salisbury, DoH director for immunisation, explained that stock had to go through a process of inventory checking, packing and transporting that would take several days. Vaccines would be distributed on a rolling basis to acute trusts and PCTs.

'We cannot supply every GP in the country simultaneously with a box,' he said. There will have to be a rolling distribution. It will all be driven by the flow in of vaccine.

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