The second wave of swine flu is well under way, but peak numbers may be lower than feared, according to the chief medical officer.
An estimated 18,000 new cases in England in the last week, up from 14,000 in the previous week and 9,000 the week before that, is nowhere near the doubling that had been anticipated.
Sir Liam Donaldson said: “We may have got a lucky break in how the virus has behaved at the start of our flu season, and we may be able to get the vaccine out there before our flu season really gets under way.
“We are well into the second wave of pandemic flu, having had the first wave in July but it’s proving so far to be a slow burner.”
Deliveries of the GSK swine flu vaccine are imminent, he said, and the first doses will be given to priority groups and frontline health workers at the end of the month.
Half a million doses of the Baxter swine flu vaccine are in stock.