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Swine flu vaccination will allow 'breathing space', says CMO

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The swine flu vaccination programme could help to contain the spread of the condition, the Government’s most senior medical adviser has said.

Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson warned that while the H1N1 virus had spread at a slower rate than feared, the situation remained serious. It could be mid-December before people at high risk from swine flu receive their vaccinations.

“What we are seeing is that while most people generally get a mild illness, a small proportion of them are getting very serious illnesses.

“The good thing about the situation at the moment is we are getting a bit of breathing space with the relatively slow increase in cases to be able to get the vaccine in place.”

Asked about reports that the vaccine programme could be extended to cover under-18s, Sir Liam said: “We are looking about what to do next when we have enough vaccine to extend it beyond the priority groups.

“We haven’t come to any final decisions about that yet.”

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