Swine flu jabs for at risk groups

People in the at-risk groups for swine flu will be able to receive vaccinations from their doctors' surgery.

The swine flu vaccination programme is to be carried out by family doctors after an agreement was reached between the Department of Health, the General Practitioners Committee (GPC) of the British Medical Association (BMA) and NHS employers.

Flu director for West Sussex Primary Care Trust Peter Hayward said: "We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone in the at-risk groups to be able to access the vaccination when it becomes available."

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Mr Hayward said the number of people in Sussex being treated for swine flu was relatively low but that did not mean people should be complacent.

"We know we must prepare for a likely rise in cases in the autumn or winter, and our work is well underway, but it is also important that everyone does their bit to protect themselves and others.

"The vaccine is the best line of defence against the virus and we strongly urge all of those in the at-risk groups to make sure you receive it."

At-risk groups:

* People between six months and 65 years old in the current seasonal flu vaccine clinical at-risk groups;

* Pregnant women, subject to licensing conditions on trimesters. The EMeA licence will indicate whether the vaccine can be given to all pregnant women or whether it should only be offered at certain stages of pregnancy;

* People who live with those whose immune systems are compromised, such as cancer patients or people with HIV/AIDS;

* People aged 65 and over in the current seasonal flu vaccine clinical at-risk groups.

* Front-line health and social care workers, because they are both at an increased risk of catching swine flu and of spreading it to other at-risk patients, and their families.

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