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September 29, 2009

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No 'serious' vaccine trouble

NO "serious adverse reactions" have been reported among the tens of thousands of citizens inoculated with Chinese-made swine flu vaccine, Health Minister Chen Zhu said yesterday.

He did not elaborate on the definition of "serious adverse reaction."

Previously, Beijing reported 14 adverse reactions out of 39,000 residents given shots to protect against the H1N1 virus.

Liang Xiaofeng, director of the immunization center under the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters at a news briefing last week that "the inoculations are safe but the possibility of adverse reactions could not be ruled out."

Liang said four of the 14 adverse reactions "may have been" related to the vaccines and that an investigation was under way to determine the exact cause.

Liang also said there was still uncertainty about the safety of vaccination for "sensitive groups" such as pregnant and breast-feeding women.

The country has established a system that enables local health departments to halt inoculations if serious reactions occur.

The medical costs for swine flu patients, especially for those suffering severe symptoms, will be covered under the framework of the public health care system, Chen said.

China is focusing inoculation on vulnerable groups such as students, teachers and victims of chronic disease.

As of yesterday, there have been more than 18,280 confirmed cases of swine flu on the Chinese mainland, among which 13,407 have recovered.

No deaths have been reported, according to the health ministry.


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