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News / August 24, 2009

Dentists could ease H1N1 vaccine pressure

by Guy Hiscott

The HSE has indicated that dentists will be able to provide the H1N1 vaccine to members of the public, reports the Irish Times.

The HSE has identified 80 centres across Ireland that could be used to enable mass swine flu vaccination.

Community centres and schools, as well as HSE properties such as health centres, hospitals and clinics, have all been proposed by local health managers as potential venues where the vaccine could be administered to large numbers.

Meanwhile, a five-week radio and TV public information campaign from the HSE about human swine flu began on Friday 21 August 2009.

HSE national director of population health, Dr Pat Doorley, stated there had been a slight increase in the level of the virus in the country but he was hopeful this was not an indication of a continued increase but rather that the virus had now reached a plateau.

‘It is possible [the rate] might come down… but it’s hard to predict exactly what is going to happen,’ he said.

Mr Doorley said that the vaccination programme was difficult to co-ordinate, because it will require everyone being offered two doses of the vaccine, which will have to be taken three or four weeks apart.

He commented: ‘We have to look at establishing clinics, the scheduling of appointments, how we identify at-risk groups, uptake, and recording of the vaccinations.’

The vaccine is to be offered to frontline healthcare workers and at-risk groups in the first instance.