China becomes first country to be ready with H1N1 vaccine

     With the release of first batch of the H1N1 vaccine, the Chinese Health Ministry has announced the country’s vaccination plan against the influenza pandemic. China has become the first country in the world to be ready with a vaccine. Teenage students in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong will be at the front of the line when the government starts administering injections during October. "With 1.3 billion people, we are limited in our ability to provide vaccines for all. Therefore, we have to continue with protective measures," China Daily quoted Health Minister Chen Zhu, as saying. So far, H1N1 has infected 5,592 people across the Chinese mainland. Chen warned that China faces an uphill battle in trying to contain the H1N1 virus. Under the Health Ministry’s plan, people with chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, pregnant women, health care workers, border control officers, rail and aviation workers, soldiers and police will be given second priority. Chen said the plan was "in line with the World Health Organization (WHO)''s suggestions". Participants in the National Day Parade on October 1 will get their jabs before the national inoculation plan starts next month. "The inoculation for them will kick off within the week. The vaccine takes two weeks to provide protection," Chen said. The ministry plans to vaccinate five percent of the population by the end of the year. Chen said there are contingency plans in place in case people suffer adverse effects from the vaccine. WHO''s Beijing spokeswoman Vivian Tan said: "Special safety issues may arise when a new vaccine is administered on a massive scale. Adverse effects that are too rare to show up in a large clinical trial could become apparent when much larger numbers of people receive the vaccine."

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