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Free flu jabs for poultry workers a 'precaution', says DH

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Poultry workers are to be offered free seasonal flu vaccinations in a bid to minimise the risk that avian flu will mutate into a human pandemic strain, the Department of Health has announced.

Poultry workers are to be offered free seasonal flu vaccinations in a bid to minimise the risk that avian flu will mutate into a human pandemic strain, the Department of Health has announced.

It is thought that the risk of a pandemic strain developing is higher if a person becomes infected by both H5N1 avain flu and by normal human flu at the same time.

'The immunisation programme is a precautionary measure which reduces any very low risk of a pandemic flu virus emerging in the UK,' said Dr David Salisbury, director of immunisation at the Department of Health.

It is thought that more than 60,000 poultry workers will be eligible for the vaccination programme, which will run from January 22 to March 31.

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