Belgium begins mass vaccination against swine flu
Belgium on Saturday officially launched a mass vaccination campaign against swine flu targeted at people considered most at risk.Brussels - Belgium on Saturday officially launched a mass vaccination campaign against swine flu targeted at people considered most at risk.
Around 15,000 workers in the medical sector have already been vaccinated for the A(H1N1) flu on a voluntary basis, health authorities said.
As well as health workers, the campaign is being extended to parents of children aged less than six months, women over three months pregnant and people whose jobs bring them into contact with children or who have a medical condition deemed to put them at risk.
A million doses of flu vaccine have been delivered directly to doctors. The vaccination is free but the vaccine is not on sale and therefore not available to people outside the targeted groups.
Health Minister Laurette Onkelinx on Friday defended the decision to oblige doctors to keep records on who has been vaccinated, despite fears that this breached medical confidentiality.
She insisted that records had to be kept in case any problems were identified with any batches of vaccine, but they would be in code and no names would be used to respect a person's privacy.
Eight deaths in Belgium have been blamed on swine flu.
More than 6,000 people have died worldwide in the pandemic since it was first identified in Mexico in April according to the most recent World Health Organisation data.