Pregnant women to get first swine flu vaccines

A swine flu vaccination campaign will be launched in the autumn starting with pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions.

In total, 54.6 million doses of pandemic vaccine are planned to be delivered by December. Those eligible will need to have two doses of the vaccine. Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Liam Donaldson said the vaccine was going through similar safety testing as seasonal flu vaccine.

Sir Liam also announced that the number of people newly diagnosed with swine flu was continuing to fall, with 25,000 new cases in England in the last week. A total of 371 patients are currently in hospital as a result of swine flu and the number of deaths linked to the virus is 44. Experts said the number of new cases of swine flu should continue to fall while schools and universities are on their summer holidays but some fear the numbers could rise in the autumn.