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Flu vaccination: yes to poultry workers

GPs will be among the health professionals expected to deliver a programme to vaccinate poultry workers against seasonal human flu.

The Department of Health announced that everyone working in close contact with poultry should receive the vaccine on the NHS as a precautionary measure against a possible flu pandemic.

The programme will run from 22 January to 31 March, with PCTs given extra resources to fund GPs or district and

community nurses to deliver vaccines.

Ministers hope the voluntary programme, for which an estimated 60,000 people may be eligible, will protect poultry workers against seasonal human flu and reduce the risk of also catching avian flu.

Acquiring both viruses simultaneously slightly increases the risk the two will combine to create a potentially dangerous new strain.

Announcing the decision, Dr David Salisbury, NHS director of immunisation, said: 'The programme we are announcing is

a precautionary measure that reduces any very low risk of a pandemic flu virus emerging in the UK.'

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