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Swine flu vaccines coming this week

PUBLISHED: 11:01 21 October 2009 | UPDATED: 08:43 01 August 2010

HOSPITALS in Norfolk will start to receive their first batches of the swine flu vaccine this week, health bosses have confirmed last night.

The vaccination will be used to protect frontline NHS staff as well as those classed in the "at-risk" group from the virus as it is expected to further rise in the coming weeks.

HOSPITALS in Norfolk will start to receive their first batches of the swine flu vaccine this week, health bosses have confirmed last night.

The vaccination will be used to protect frontline NHS staff as well as those classed in the “at-risk” group from the virus as it is expected to further rise in the coming weeks.

Primary care trusts, GPs, ambulance staff and mental health trusts will then receive vaccine supplies next week.

Staff at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn will all be offered the jab.

It is not known how many will take up the vaccine - nationally there are concerns staff are refusing to take the drug due to possible health concerns - but everyone who is offered it is encouraged to take it.

Dr Linda Sheridan, director of flu resilience for NHS East of England, said: “The NHS in the east of England is continuing to make preparations for a second wave of flu and a huge effort is being put into the vaccination programme.

“It is important that eligible healthcare staff do have the vaccine if they are offered it. The bottom line is that not getting vaccinated means you're taking a risk with your own health, and the health of your colleagues and patients, as well as your families.

“The vaccine will shortly be available to at risk groups of the public at it is important for them to also get the vaccine. Even if you think you have already had swine flu it is still important you get vaccinated as there are many flu viruses circulating and you may have had one of the seasonal flu viruses rather than the H1N1 virus.

“There have been some scare stories in the press so I'd like to reassure people that the vaccine is safe and that it is also safe to have swine flu vaccine at the same time as the seasonal flu jab - you'll need both to be fully protected from flu this winter.

“Everyone can help reduce the spread of the swine flu virus.”

As well as front line staff people who are considered at “high risk” will be offered the jab as a priority - people with long term conditions, pregnant women, those under six months and over the age of 65.

Meanwhile people who are not in the high risk group are being urged to be patient while the vaccination programme is being rolled out.

GP practices will contact members of the community identified as being in the priority groups and doctors are asking people not to contact their surgery for more information on the vaccine.

Clarification on exactly when GP practices will receive the swine flu vaccine is due from the Department of Health over the coming days.

Dr Shamsher Diu, public health consultant for NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, said: “We understand people are anxious to find out when the vaccine will be ready and when they can have the injection - however, we are still waiting for more information on when the vaccination will be received.

“GP practices are very busy and we would ask people not to block phone lines by calling for more information.”

If you think that you may have swine flu, you should contact National Pandemic Flu Service for assessment, which is available on 0800 1 513 100, or use the online service at: www.direct.gov.uk/pandemicflu

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