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SWINE FLU JABS FOR ALL PUPILS; Bid to stop second viral wave.


EVERY pupil could soon be vaccinated against swine flu to combat a second wave of the deadly virus.

All 8.5million children would get the jabs in the biggest vaccination programme since the 1964 drive to eliminate smallpox.

Nurses and GPs could give the injections to four to 16-year-olds in 33,700 schools under plans being studied by ministers.

The news came as it emerged the number of swine flu cases plunged in the past week.

Around 80,000 fewer people fell ill with the virus - down from 110,000 to 30,000.

The number of patients in hospital also plummeted from 793 to 530.

But deaths linked to the illness rose 33% from 27 to 36 - though not all these occurred in the past seven days because it takes time to confirm swine flu.

It was also announced the first vaccines should be ready for use next month.

Insisting the majority of cases continues to be mild, the Health Protection Agency said: "The virus is not becoming more severe or developing resistance to anti-virals."

Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson added: "The deaths don't suggest any increase in severity in the disease."

Figures show weekly GP consultations have also fallen, coinciding with the launch of the National Pandemic Flu Service.

Health chiefs said several drug companies have produced H1N1 vaccines and have already started testing them on humans.

The World Health Organisation has recommended health workers and pregnant women should take priority to get the jabs.
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 7, 2009
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