Swine flu vaccination programme begins next week

The swine flu vaccination programme will begin in England and Scotland from next week with acute care trusts first in line to receive the jabs, the CMO for England Sir Liam Donaldson has announced.

Sir Liam Donaldson

Practices can except to receive their first batches of the GSK vaccine Pandemrix from 26 October, with supplies of the Baxter vaccine Celvapan to be rolled out to PCTs at the same time.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended that all patients over the age of 10, including pregnant women, receive just one dose of Pandemrix.

Children under 10 and patients who are immuno-compromised will receive two doses of the jab, with Celvapan reserved for patients who are allergic to egg.

There have now been 106 confirmed deaths from swine flu in the UK.

In total, there were 27,000 new cases in England in the past week, compared with 18,000 the week before.

Although the rate is short of the doubling that would represent a second surge, Sir Liam said that he was concerned that the number of patients in critical care had increased to its highest level yet.

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