New York medical staff took legal action Thursday to halt a massive swine flu inoculation program being rolled out across the United States, claiming the vaccines have not been properly tested.

Lawyers for the group filed a temporary restraining order in a Washington federal court against government medical regulators they claim rushed H1N1 vaccines to the public without adequately testing their safety and efficacy.

"None of the vaccines against H1N1 have been properly tested," attorney Jim Turner, one of half a dozen lawyers working on the case, told AFP.

The suit was brought on behalf of a group of doctors, nurses and other medical personnel in New York, where health care professionals who see patients are required to be vaccinated against H1N1, Turner said.

If the complaint is upheld, it would stop the roll-out of the H1N1 vaccine nationwide, said Turner, who accused public health officials of hyping the swine flu outbreak but failing to back up their stance with adequate testing of the vaccine.

"Officials have said the virus is so much like the ordinary flu virus that they don't need to do special new drug testing on it because it's just the same old virus with a minor change to it," said Turner.

"We're saying, if that's the case, then all the hype about this thing being a worldwide threat is misplaced and they've stampeded the state of New York into taking an action they never would have taken if it were just another flu."

Last week, some 2.4 million doses of nasal spray vaccine made of greatly weakened, but live, H1N1 virus were delivered to state and local health authorities around the United States.

This week, even larger stocks of injectable vaccine were delivered and administered to people in groups deemed to be at particular risk from swine flu, including children and health care professionals.

US public health officials want to vaccinate tens of millions of Americans by year's end against swine flu, which has claimed more than 4,500 lives worldwide since an outbreak of H1N1 was first reported in Mexico in April.

kdz/arb/jm

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