A/H1N1 flu jabs: Shanghai sticks with game plan

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Shanghai Daily, November 9, 2009
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Shanghai health officials said yesterday it was unnecessary to expand free swine-flu vaccinations to all the residents of the city.

The policy of only vaccinating at-risk people like students, medical personnel and public service staff would not be changed, they said.

Their comments came after the Beijing Health Bureau announced on Friday that all those with permanent residency in the capital, except for children under three and pregnant women, would be eligible for the free inoculation program.

Mass vaccinations in Beijing are scheduled to begin on November 16.

Xu Jianguang, director of the Shanghai Health Bureau, said the city's inoculation program was based on scientific research and the prevalence of the virus.

Bigger demand

"There is an effective disease-prevention network through vaccinating the at-risk population and people who have gained some degree of immunity after catching the swine-flu virus without developing severe symptoms," he said.

"This coverage is enough for a general immunity in the overall population and to prevent a big outbreak."

Dr Zhong Nanshan, one of the leading respiratory-disease experts in the nation, said a new wave of swine flu had arrived in northern areas and a peak may be reached in January or February in southern zones.

Zhong said vaccinations were essential.

Shanghai needs about 2.1 million doses of swine-flu vaccine for all its vulnerable people, and there is still a shortage of 800,000 shots.

The city uses vaccine produced by the Shanghai Institute of Biological Products.

All vaccines are purchased by the state government and allocated in accordance with regional demand.

"The vaccine arrives in the city by batches," said Wang Menglian, the institute's vice director. "The remaining 800,000 shots required will be transported to Shanghai in the next month as scheduled."

He admitted the demand for vaccine was bigger than present production capacity.

Wang said state authorities had ordered all vaccine producers to step up production.

Between October 15 and the end of the year, Shanghai will vaccinate at-risk people, including medical personnel, public service employees including police and entry-exit officers, airline and public transport staff, kindergarten teachers and students and teachers of primary and middle schools.

So far 150,000 to 160,000 people have received vaccinations with no cases of any serious adverse reaction.

Vaccinations on students and teachers will be widely carried out this week.

Free seasonal flu vaccinations, scheduled for the middle of this month to February, are available to medical workers, staff and volunteers involved in the Shanghai 2010 World Expo, entry-exit staff, people working in service industries, teachers and pupils and people aged over 60.

Shanghai had reported more than 1,300 cases of swine flu by last week since the first one in May. There have been no fatalities.

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