Flu vaccines set to arrive

The first batch of vaccines against swine flu are due to arrive in Greece today, health experts said yesterday, noting, however, that the drugs will not be administered for at least a month, until they have been approved as safe by the European Medicines’ Agency. Experts have reportedly proposed that the first batch of vaccines – around 100,000 to 150,000 double shots – will be reserved for employees working in the health sector, women in the first months of pregnancy and mothers with infants less than 6 months old. According to Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, the plan is for these vaccines to be administered before November when a spike in H1N1 cases is expected in Greece. Meanwhile, in a related development, Avramopoulos said that schools would only close when 40 percent of pupils and teachers are off sick due to swine flu. Following a meeting yesterday with experts on a council set up to advise the government on how to curb the spread of swine flu, Avramopoulos said decisions relating to schools would be taken on a case-by-case basis.