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H1N1 vaccine campaign to begin mid-November

The first H1N1 vaccines will be sent to Swiss cantons next week, with the inoculation of at-risk individuals beginning mid-November, the Federal Health Office says.

"We have at our disposal products that are tested and safe," Thomas Zeltner, the office's outgoing director, told media in Bern on Friday.

Switzerland has ordered 13 million doses of vaccine from Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline.

Zeltner said a second phase, in which anyone wanting a jab could get one, would take place around two weeks after the first.

Swissmedic, the country's medicines supervisory authority, has approved Glaxo's Pandemrix, but not for pregnant women, children under the age of 18 and adults over 60. Those over 60 can be inoculated with Pandemrix under recommendations from the Health Office.

Novartis's Focetria is recommended for use in adults and children over six months old. In the case of pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, the attending doctor must weigh up the inoculation, also in accordance with government recommendations.

Swissmedic is still testing another Novartis vaccine, Celtura.

In Switzerland there have been around 1,400 cases of H1N1 to date but no deaths.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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