Swine flu vaccine offer for Suffolk

EVERYONE in Suffolk will be offered a vaccine against swine flu as health bosses prepare for the virus to affect up to 100,000 people in the county.Nationally the Department of Health is developing a vaccination which will be rolled out in an effort to stop the spread of the pandemic.

EVERYONE in Suffolk will be offered a vaccine against swine flu as health bosses prepare for the virus to affect up to 100,000 people in the county.

Nationally the Department of Health is developing a vaccination which will be rolled out in an effort to stop the spread of the pandemic.

The vaccination to protect against the now rapidly-spreading virus will be offered to people who are considered vulnerable next month and will eventually be given to everyone.

Health professionals are expecting a very busy summer with a swine flu outbreak imminent - hitting between an estimated one in three and one in five people in the region.

However, although the virus has started to spread quickly it is not currently regarded as dangerous.

Dr David Kanka, deputy director of public health for NHS Suffolk, said: 'A vaccination is being developed and the government has ordered enough vaccine for the whole population, including Suffolk.

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'There will be a phased delivery of the vaccine over the next few months - beginning in the autumn.

'High risk and priority groups, as determined by the Department of Health, will receive the vaccine first.'

High risk groups are people with chronic lung, heart, liver, kidney or neurological diseases; those with diabetes; patients who have had drug treatment for asthma for the past three years; pregnant women and people over 65 or under five.

At the moment anyone who is suspected of having swine flu is offered an anti-viral drug and given a range of self help techniques either by an NHS helpline or their GP.

Symptoms of swine flu are broadly the same as those of ordinary flu such as sudden fever, cough, headaches, chills, aching muscles, loss of appetite and changes in body temperature.

An NHS East of England spokesperson said: 'There will be a phased delivery of vaccine beginning at the end of August. High risk and priority groups will receive vaccines first.'

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