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Single dose swine flu vaccine for ‘most groups’

By Steve Nowottny

GPs will be able to vaccinate most patients against swine flu with just one dose of the vaccine rather than two.

GPC leaders said yesterday that a single dose will be sufficient for ‘most groups' – and claimed the associated drop in workload would mean most practices ‘should have this wrapped up by Christmas'.

GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden said: ‘For most groups it will be one dose not two. Children from 6-10 will have two half doses, people from 10-60 years will get one dose, and for individuals over 60 it will be one dose - that might be subject to change if there is change in the evidence.'

‘For immuno-compromised over ten years, there will be two doses three weeks apart. Pregnant women will be offered one dose as well.'

‘From a GP viewpoint, this is good news, it means we can get good compliance rate. Obviously it's easier with one shot rather than two.'

A Department of Health spokesperson confirmed that the vaccine being developed by GlaxoSmithKline will be delivered in one dose, while the Baxter vaccine will be delivered in two doses three weeks apart.

Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson announced yesterday that the swine flu vaccination programme is due to get underway next week. 415,000 doses of the vaccine will be delivered to acute trusts for the vaccination of high-risk patients and healthcare workers from next Wednesday, while deliveries of the vaccine to GP surgeries will begin the following Monday, 26 October.

Dr Holden said he was optimistic that with the single-dose vaccine, practices would be able to complete vaccination campaign in good time.

‘Single dose is a big change – that makes it much more likely we can get good coverage,' he said. ‘Provided the supply chain stands up, most practices should have this wrapped up by Christmas.'

But GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman warned that the imminent postal strike could cause delays in calling patients in for vaccination.

‘The postal strike could interfere, because it means you can't get letters to them as easily,' he said. ‘I don't think we can entertain the thought of phoning – the staff time would be colossal.'

Dr Peter Holden: 'Most practices should have this wrapped up by Christmas' Dr Peter Holden: 'Most practices should have this wrapped up by Christmas'

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