UK receives first 200,000 doses of swine flu vaccine

 

Britain has received its first 200,000 doses of the swine flu vaccine from US drug company Baxter International, health officials confirmed today.

But the medicine can not yet be used because it must first be licensed, a process due to end by early October.

The UK is expected to receive its first 300,000 doses of swine flu vaccine this month, followed by 4.4 million doses next month and 14.2 million in October.

The country should obtain another 15.5 million doses in November and 20.2 million in December.

The number of new cases of H1N1 flu in England is continuing to fall sharply, although a second wave of the potentially fatal virus is still expected, the government's top health advisor also said today.

Chief Medical Officer Liam Donaldson said there were an estimated 5,000 new cases last week, compared to 11,000 in the previous seven days.

"A second wave is expected but its timing cannot be accurately forecast," Donaldson told a news conference.

The total number of deaths in England since the virus was first diagnosed reached 57, up three from the previous week.

However, most cases are mild and there is no sign that the virus is changing or becoming more severe.

Babies under one and young people aged between 15 and 24 are the two groups most commonly suffering flu-like symptoms.

Additional reporting by Reuters