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New swine flu vaccination guidelines released

The Swiss Health Office has approved the H1N1 vaccine Pandemrix for infants at least six months old despite receiving no green light from regulator Swissmedic.

In its latest announcement, the office said it was recommending Pandemrix for infants because a single dosage was sufficient to protect a child.

Swissmedic has only approved Pandemrix for those aged 18 or older. That differs from the European Union, where the vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline has been approved for babies six months and older.

At first, the Health Office had waited for Swissmedic's approval before launching its vaccination programme. The green light came at the end of October, a good month after the EU had approved the vaccines. The delay was heavily criticised in the media.

The authorities also said new research had shown that children between three and nine years of age who have already received a shot of the vaccine Focetria would not need a second injection.

A second dosage is still required for children and people over 60 who have been vaccinated with the alternative drug, Celtura.

Adults between 40 and 59 can get the two shots at the same time. Doctors will determine whether pregnant women should get vaccinated on a case-by-case basis. and agencies


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