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Younger people, those with an underlying illness, pregnant women and people who are obese are the groups who are likely to become most seriously ill and among whom most deaths may be recorded from swine flu, a local health expert revealed this week.
Clinical testing continues into the Swine Flu vaccine which will be available to the Mayo public in coming months. In all it will take nine months for the vaccine to be administered to the whole community, once it is licensed in Europe.
The Health Service Executive this week reminded everyone at risk of annual influenza this winter to ‘Get the vaccine, not the flu’. This year, because of the swine flu pandemic there will be two vaccination campaigns, firstly one for the seasonal flu and later on, one for the swine flu vaccine.
The Health Service Executive West is urging those aged over 65 years and younger people with long term illnesses, such as asthma, heart problems, etc, to avail of the seasonal flu vaccine now.
Three out of four people intend to get the swine flu vaccine when the national vaccination programme gets under way, according to a nationwide survey carried out by the HSE.
The HSE and Department of Health announced that the swine flu vaccination programme will commence on November 2. As very few people in Ireland have any immunity to swine flu, over the coming months, the HSE will offer a swine flu vaccine to the entire population.
Two or three clinics giving the swine flu vaccination is not enough to deal with the population of county Galway and unless the HSE opens more clinics there will be problems for doctors and unnecessary stress caused to patients in rural areas.
The roll-out of the swine flu vaccine is set to start next week with the prediction that a quarter of the population will contract this new pandemic flu.
The National Immunisation Advisory Committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) has recommended that pregnant women and those breast-feeding should receive the vaccine for swine flu (H1N1).
The first phase of the HSE Swine Flu Vaccination Campaign was launched on Mondy this week for Longford/ Westmeath. GP practices throughout the counties, with three additional HSE clinics operating in Athlone, Mullingar, and Longford will offer the vaccine to at-risk groups over the next two weeks.