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February 5, 2010

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Ministry: All should have swine flu shots

CHINA says it is expanding its free inoculation plan against swine flu to include all people, except for those with contraindication to the vaccine, according to a latest notice posted on the Website of the Ministry of Health.

The ministry said it was taking this action because inoculation is the most effective measure for swine flu prevention, and suggested that people receive the injection at a nearby medical facility under the arrangement of local health authorities.

However, officials from the Shanghai Health Bureau, contacted by Shanghai Daily last night, said Shanghai's inoculation plan is still focusing on especially vulnerable populations, such as students, public staff, migrant workers, and pregnant women.

"We haven't received new orders to promote vaccine recipients," said Wang Tong, a health bureau official.

"It is also difficult to give everyone the free shots in a big city like Shanghai. Production and distribution of swine flu vaccines are in the charge of the central government, not Shanghai."

Officials from the Shanghai Institute of Biological Products, the city's only approved swine flu vaccine producer, said it hadn't received orders to increase production.

"Many people who are included into the key population didn't receive the shots due to various concerns," said Wang Mengliang, the institute's vice director. "Shanghai has 2.1 million dosages of swine flu vaccines, which are produced by our institute. It should be enough for the current inoculation."

More than 1.9 million people have received the shots, the Shanghai bureau said.


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