July 19, 2009
[efoods]The German health ministry announced on Friday that an estimated quarter of Germany’s population will be eligible to receive the flu shots. This confirms reports earlier this week that the government had plans to order 50 million vaccine units against swine flu. The vaccines will be available from September, to coincide with an expected surge in flu cases.
Health state ministers late on Thursday agreed that chronically ill patients, health care workers, police officers, fire fighters, public workers and pregnant women can receive the injections first. Two shots are needed for the vaccination to be effective against the (A)H1N1 virus.
“The vaccinations are a precautionary measure,” said health ministry spokesman, Klaus Vater. “No one can tell how the new virus will develop in the coming weeks.”
Despite the priority immunization list, Federal Health Minister Ulla Schmidt insists that everyone who wants to be vaccinated against swine flu, will be able to do so. Protecting the entire population is expected to cost health insurers an estimated two billion euros.