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'We all need jag for bird flu.

EVERY person in Britain should be vaccinated against bird flu, an expert on infection said last night. Professor HughPennington, of Aberdeen University, fears mass unrest unless everyone gets an effective jag.

And he believes people will besiege GP surgeries looking for vaccines if the HN51 strain of bird flu mutates into a virus which can spread between humans.

Pennington said: "Mass vaccination would ease the risk of civil unrest and give the whole population confidence and the best protection available. It would cost millions but it wouldbeworth it The Government are stockpiling anti-viral drug Tamiflu in case of a bird flu pandemic, but ministers are only buying enough of the drug for a quarter of the population.

Pennington insists Tamiflu would not work as well as a vaccine based on a mutant HN51 virus.

He says such a vaccine could be developed within three weeks of the virus mutating, with a mass inoculation programme beginning soon after.

Pennington has warned that two million Britons could die in a bird flu pandemic.

So far, bird flu has killed at least 70 people in Asia. But the virus would have to mutate into a new form to cause mass casualties.

The Executive said Tamiflu would be the most effective weapon against a pandemic until a vaccine based on the new mutant virus could be developed

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 15, 2005
Words:227
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