Swine Flu Vaccinations Rolled Out

by Sian Lower

image courtesy of telegraph.co.uk
image courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

Following 2 more deaths this weekend in the UK due to Influenza A virus subtype H1N1 ( a.k.a ‘Swine Flu’ ),  the total number of deaths across Scotland is now 28 – and 108 in total across the UK, which brings relief to many that the vaccination programme has now begun.

There are 2 versions of the vaccine. The first is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, which will be given to the majority of patients in 1 shot. The second is manufactured by Baxter and unlike GSK, it is not made using chicken eggs and so is reserved for those with allergies and for children. Patients will be given this shot 2 times, 3 weeks apart.

Overall there have been 28 deaths due to swine flu in Scotland  and 500,000 people have been infected in the UK in total. As doctors predicted, this seems to be the second wave of the virus, just in time to coincide with local surgeries’ general flu vaccinations, which could pose a significant threat to an already over-stretched health service.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said, ” Vaccination is our best defence against this virus.I urge everyone who is offered the vaccine to accept it, in order to help minimise the impact of the virus.

The vaccination programme is on track. It will have a phased introduction as supplies become available from the manufacturers.

Patients in priority groups will be contacted by their GP when they have to attend for vaccination and we expect to have offered vaccination to all in the priority groups by the end of the year.”

 image courtesy of scrapetv.com
image courtesy of scrapetv.com

But who are the priority groups? According to the Department of Health, the priority list is as follows ; healthcare professionals, pregnant women, all children under 5, adults aged under 65 with a chronic illness, all young people under 18 and then all other patients, in that order.

This brings the total number of  people classed as a priority to 14 million – all of whom need to be treated by December if the Health Secretary’s goal is to be achieved.