This site is intended for health professionals only

Swine flu vaccine set for release

The government expects the long-awaited swine flu vaccine to be available in hospitals from 14 October, Sky News has claimed.

While frontline health workers and vulnerable patients will be given the drug first, supplies will be available for family doctors on 19 October.

Director of immunisation, David Salisbury, said stocks of the GSK vaccine and another jab manufactured by Baxter would be delivered to GPs on a rolling basis as they became available.

The number of swine flu cases in the UK rose by 50% to 14,000 over the last week, prompting fears that a suspected second wave of infection has begun.

The government's chief medical officer, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, moved to ease such worries, saying he had not seen the explosive increases expected.

"We've not quite seen a doubling (in cases), which is better news," he explained.

"On vaccination, the good news is that we've got approval of the vaccine at European level and we're expecting to be able to start administering in the second part of October."

He added that plans were under way to increase the number of beds at specialist lung failure treatment unit in Leicester from five to ten.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

NHS Swine Flu Q&A

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"How many people are going to die before they get vaccine?" – Mustafa, Manchester