Jersey

Jersey recognised for swift response to swine flu

Jersey's swift response to the swine flu virus in 2009 has been internationally recognised.

Jersey health expert, Dr Linda Diggle, has been invited to tell an international conference at The Hague about it.

She will speak to more than 2,000 delegates about the system in place to protect children during the pandemic.

Dr Susan Turnbull, the acting medical officer of health, said she was delighted for her colleague.

The invitation to speak at the conference came after a group of independent scientific researchers, commissioned by the European Centre for Disease Control, studied the Jersey pandemic experience and measured how the vaccination campaign prevented a major spread of the virus in the island.

Dr Turnbull said her department had been criticised by some for over-reacting to the virus.

"We were able to vaccinate about 80% of all children in the island in less than a week and that is seen as a unique success.

"It was virtually unheard of but the further ramifications of that is that it seems to have helped us to prevent about 20,000 - 22,000 more infections of the people in Jersey and that would have had a tremendous impact on the island."

Dr Turnbull said it was estimated 20 people in Jersey would have died from swine flu if every islander had not been offered a vaccination during the 2009 pandemic.

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