Wales

Swine flu vaccine stock released to Cardiff, Vale GPs

Supplies of swine flu jab vaccine are being released to GPs in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan from Monday.

Health officials agreed to releasing stocks of the H1N1 flu vaccine to meet demand.

"Because of the prevalence of H1N1 cases we're seeing in the area anyway, the vaccine should do the job for the majority of people," said a health board spokeswoman.

Stocks are running low of the seasonal flu vaccine.

This vaccine protects against three types of flu - H1N1 or swine flu and the A and B flu viruses.

But it was felt releasing the H1N1-only vaccine could at least provide protection to vulnerable groups.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said a mixture of seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccine would be available and where patients could not get seasonal flu vaccine at their surgeries, they would be given the H1N1 Pandemrix vaccine.

Latest figures from Public Health Wales suggest consultation rates for flu across Wales may now be levelling out and will begin to reduce in the next few weeks.

'Promptly'

The highest rate has been among the 25 to 34 year age-group.

As of last Wednesday, there had been 12 influenza-related deaths reported to the Welsh Assembly Government.

The chief medical officer wrote to health officials last week to support the swine flu vaccine, stockpiled in 2009, to be used as an alternative.

Health officials were also working with local health boards in Wales to co-ordinate the redistribution of seasonal flu vaccine stocks to cover areas where stocks are low.

Health Minister Edwina Hart said: "Clinicians will be reminded it is important to treat people with antivirals in at-risk groups promptly, preferably within 48 hours of symptom onset, regardless of vaccination status, as no vaccine gives full protection against influenza."

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