Spain to begin swine flu vaccinations in mid-November

23rd October 2009, Comments 0 comments

Swine flu vaccinations will start later in Spain than in other European countries, with pregnant women receiving a special vaccine without adjuvants.

Madrid – Spain is to begin swine flu vaccinations on 16 November, later than in many other European countries, with pregnant women receiving a special form of the vaccine, the government said Thursday.

"For more security in the vaccination of pregnant women, we have agreed to acquire vaccines without adjuvants which are vaccines that have proved adequate in pregnant women," Health Minister Trinidad Jimenez said.

An adjuvant is a controversial ingredient that is meant to boost the immune system's response to the vaccine.

Jimenez said health workers, members of the security forces and the fire and prison services and those in high-risk groups, who also include those with illnesses such as cardiovascular or respiratory diseases, can receive the vaccine from 16 November.

For the rest of the population it will be available from December, she told a news conference.

The government said last month it plans to have enough stocks of the A(H1N1) flu vaccine to inoculate 60 percent of the population.

The United States began swine flu vaccinations on 6 October. In Europe, Britain and France began immunisation programmes this week, after similar actions in Belgium, Italy and Sweden.

But the programmes have drawn a mixed reaction.

Swine flu has killed more than 4,700 people in 191 countries and territories since it broke out in Mexico this year, according to the World Health Organisation.

At least 45 people have died of the virus in Spain, according the latest toll by the health ministry, issued October 15.

Spain was the first European country to confirm a case of the virus and the second-most affected country on the continent after Britain.

AFP / Expatica

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