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Poultry workers to receive flu vaccination

The Department of Health has announced that this winter, flu vaccination is being offered to those who work in close contact with poultry. They state that this is being done as a precautionary public health measure and does not mean that workers are at any higher risk of getting flu this winter than usual.

Director of Immunisation, Dr David Salisbury said: "Avian flu is a disease of birds. Only those who are in close, prolonged contact with diseased birds are at risk from catching H5N1. Even so, people rarely become infected. There have been no human cases of H5N1 avian flu in the UK.

"The immunisation programme we are announcing today is a precautionary measure which reduces any very low risk of a pandemic flu virus emerging in the UK. The programme has the support of the poultry industry. This is a prudent and precautionary step to take as part of our contingency planning in protecting the population against the risk of pandemic flu".

PCTs are advised to undertake this scheme starting from 22 January 2007, and should cover the period up to 31 March 2007. Each PCT will receive a list of all registered poultry premises within its boundaries including contact details, under the authority of the Department of Health and the Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). If the PCT decides to contract out the service, the contractor will need to contact all registered local poultry premises and identify the numbers to be vaccinated, for ordering vaccine supplies.

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