Hard sell: If you go to the doctor for anything the doctor will be offering free swine flu vaccine

From the UK’s Daily Telegraph, excerpts from a story about Australia’s new push to use up its swine flu stockpile. The multidose vaccine vials need to be used within 24 hours of opening.

DOCTORS have been told to issue the swine flu vaccine throughout summer in order to deplete the Government’s stockpile before millions of doses expire.

Australia’s chief medical officer Professor Jim Bishop will write to doctors this week urging them to “redouble efforts” to vaccinate as many patients as possible.

But critics say there is no legitimate medical reason to mass vaccinate against a flu that has proved to be far less serious than first feared.

The federal Government is committed to buying 21 million doses of the vaccine from [Australian] manufacturer CSL, but the take-up rate has been slower than hoped.

GPs admit they are doing opportunistic vaccinations to avoid wasting the vaccine, which comes in multi-dose vials that need to be thrown out after 24 hours. Patients who present with food poisoning or for a routine blood test are leaving with a swine flu jab…

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