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A/H1N1 flu vaccine ruled out in two Chinese deaths: official

CHINESE health officials have ruled out the China-made A/H1N1 flu vaccine in the causes of the deaths of two people who were inoculated in December, an official with the Ministry of Health said today.

As of Dec. 31, about 49.91 million people nationwide had been inoculated against the A/H1N1 flu, and about one person in every million developed a serious adverse reaction, said Liang Wannian, director of the ministry's emergency response office, at a press conference.

The proportion was similar to data from the World Health Organization, said Liang.

He gave no other details on the two people who died or the causes of death.

The Chinese mainland had reported 659 deaths from the A/H1N1 influenza as of Jan. 2. More than 120,000 A/H1N1 flu cases were reported as of last Saturday, 111,057 cases of which had recovered, he said.

There was a drop in the weekly number of reported new cases, but the number of serious cases and deaths, especially those of chronic patients, obese people and pregnant women, had increased sharply, he said.

Liang encouraged pregnant women to receive the A/H1N1 flu vaccine as they were among the most susceptible to the virus.

More than 1,400 pregnant women had been inoculated as of the end of last year, said Liang.
"None of them showed serious adverse reactions," he said. "It proved the vaccine is safe for pregnant women."

In a guide issued on Dec. 30 to help pregnant women prevent catching the flu strain, the ministry suggested women put off plans to have a child.

About 13.7 percent of the deaths from the A/H1N1 influenza on the Chinese mainland were pregnant women, according to statistics released by the ministry last month.

Liang said, "The epidemic is spreading further in the countryside and and urban communities."

Rural areas, especially rural schools, would be the key region for A/H1N1 flu prevention and control in the next stage, said Liang.

He warned of a "severe" situation for flu control in the next two months, especially during the Spring Festival, which falls in mid February, when many Chinese families would be traveling and gathering.


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