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1.6 million patients vaccinated against swine flu

By Lilian Anekwe

1.6 million doses of the swine flu vaccine have now been given to patients in priority groups, according to the Department of Health.

600,000 more doses have been given to eligible patients in the last week, chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson said, but the total figure is still well short of the 9 million total in the priority groups.

275,000 healthcare workers have also opted to have the swine flu jab - nearly double the number who had the seasonal flu vaccine last year.

The new figures on the uptake of the swine flu jab comes as pandemic activity in England and Wales appears to be tailing off.

The number of new cases fell by half in the past week, according to the latest weekly report from the Health Protection Agency.

Its weekly pandemic flu update shows that for most indicators, activity is starting to decrease across the UK.

The agency estimates there were 22,000 new cases of swine flu in England last week, down 52% from 46,000 cases the week before.

The GP consultation rate for flu-like illness in England has also decreased, to 38.6 per 100,000 last week compared with 39.2 in the previous week.

The estimated number of cases self referring to the National Pandemic Flu Service have shown decreases in all areas of assessments, authorisations and collections, with the exception of a slight increase in assessments in the 1-4 year age groups, and overall, influenza-like illness remains highest in the under fives.

Swine flu activity is in decline across the UK

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