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Swine flu vaccine gets green light

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One of the swine flu vaccines ordered by the government has now been licensed for use in the UK.

The European Medicines Agency today granted marketing authorisation for GlaxoSmithKline’s Pandemrix – the vaccine that will make up the bulk of the national swine flu immunisation programme.

The agency also issued a license to a second vaccine Focetria, manufactured by Novartis.

However, this is not currently on order by the DH. Instead, it has procured the Baxter vaccine Celvapan, which is yet to be licensed.

The agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use fast-tracked its assessment of the vaccines in recognition that they were “one of the most important tools in the management of an influenza pandemic”.

The committee is currently recommending a two-dose vaccination schedule, at an interval of three weeks, for adults, including pregnant women, and children from six months of age.

It said it acknowledged that preliminary trial data suggested that one dose may be sufficient in adults.

“The agency is expecting further data from ongoing clinical studies over the coming months and these recommendations may be updated,” it said.

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