Swine Flu vax rushed thru safety checks
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|Tue, 07-14-2009 - 4:36pm|
The warning signs are building about this vaccination...
Swine flu vaccine rushed through safety checks
As many as 20m people could be inoculated this year
A swine flu vaccine will be fast-tracked for use in Britain within five days once it is developed, and 130 million doses are on order.
The Department of Health expects to have enough vaccine this year to give it to half the population. Further supplies will be available if needed. Each person will need two doses of the vaccine, unless one single jab is found to provide high rates of immunity.
The first doses specific to the H1N1 swine flu virus are set to arrive in September and could be given regulatory approval in less than a week.
The move came after the first British patient without underlying health problems died from swine flu, taking the number of swine flu-linked deaths in Britain to 15. Peter Holden, the British Medical Association’s lead negotiator on swine flu, said that GPs’ surgeries were prepared for one of the biggest winter vaccination campaigns in almost 50 years. He said that, although swine flu was not generally causing serious illness in patients, health officials were eager to start a mass vaccination campaign, starting first on groups that were susceptible to infection or prone to complications.
It is likely that the elderly would be given a seasonal flu jab to guard against other circulating flu strains — as happens every year — as well as the swine flu vaccination. “The high-risk groups will be done at GPs’ surgeries. People are still making decisions over this, but we want to get cracking before we get a second wave, which is traditionally far more virulent,” Dr Holden said.
It takes several weeks or months to make flu vaccines, which are cultured using chicken eggs. The European Medicines Agency said the fast-tracked approval procedure has involved trials of a “mock-up” vaccine and that the speed would not compromise patient safety. “The vaccines are authorised with a detailed risk management plan,” the agency said.