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Access to swine flu drug extended

Swiss health authorities have extended authorisation for the swine flu vaccine Pandemrix, produced by pharmaceuticals group GlaxoSmithKline, to those aged over 60.

The Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products (Swissmedic), based in Bern, said that over 60s could obtain the vaccine against A (H1N1) with immediate effect.

It explained that it had clinical data proving the effectiveness of the vaccine. The drug had previously been authorised for those aged 18-60.

Federal authorities are telling patients to contact their doctor or pharmacists in the case of unusual symptoms after vaccination.

Swissmedic said it was providing healthcare professionals with a special online system to report suspected adverse effects to constantly monitor the safety of the swine flu vaccine.

Two other vaccines against swine flu have been authorised in Switzerland – Focetria and Celtura produced by Swiss pharmaceuticals group Novartis.

Switzerland on Thursday reported its third swine flu fatality. After the death of a five-month-old infant and a 50-year-old woman suffering from diabetes, a 46-year-old woman, who was HIV positive, has died.

The Federal Health Office said that by the end of next week it will have enough vaccines for half of the Swiss population.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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