A vaccine for swine flu may be with us by the end of August, the Government has said in a bid to quash public fears over delayed jabs.
Half the population could be vaccinated by late December, when 60 million doses of the vaccine are due to have arrived in the UK. The remaining doses are expected to come next year.
The Government has drawn up a priority list of people to receive a jab when the fist batches arrive in August.
However, delays have been predicted between the manufacturers, Baxter and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), delivering the supplies and the first vaccinations being given.
Before it can be used, the jab must be approved by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: ‘The manufacturers have told us that they will be delivering the first supplies of the vaccine at the end of August.
‘This is not the Department of Health’s schedule - it is led by the manufacturers.
‘The vaccine will also need to satisfy regulatory requirements before it can be used.
‘We have contracts with manufacturers to supply enough vaccine for the whole population once it has been developed.’