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Mass Swine Flu Vaccination Starts Tomorrow

Mass swine flu vaccination will begin tomorrow with 2,300 GPs having now received stocks of the necessary vaccine over the past 10 days.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) said 45 clinics will also be administering the inoculation freeSwine Flu of charge to patients in high-risk categories.

“This free vaccine offers protection from swine flu and is the best defence we have against the pandemic,” a spokeswoman from the HSE stated.

Last week, the HSE confirmed that the number of new swine flu cases was rapidly surging upwards, with the highest infection rates among schoolchildren.

Presently more than 100 people stricken with the H1N1 virus are in hospital, with 23 of these fighting for their lives in intensive care.

So far, 10 persons with the other underlying condition have died as a result of the H1N1 virus.

The HSE said everybody will be offered the vaccine but urged those who were considered high-risk to go their doctor or a participating clinic immediately.

High-risk categories include:

Pregnant women, from 14 weeks into their pregnancy to six weeks after giving birth.
Anyone aged between six months and 65 years who has long-term lung, heart, kidney, liver or neurological disease.
Anyone aged over six months and under 65 years whose immune system is being affected by medical treatment, who have haemoglobinopathies, diabetes, or who are morbidly obese.

The HSE state that people older than 65 years appear to have some immunity to the H1N1 strain and are not considered high-risk.

A HSE spokeswoman has stated:
“Each person who gets the vaccine helps to stop the spread of swine flu. Getting the vaccine not only ensures that the individual does not contract the virus but that the spread of the virus in the community decreases due to the ‘herd immunity’ effect, so we can all help to protect each other from the effects of this flu,”

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