Author`s name Pravda.Ru

Medical personnel and workers in drug-manufacturing plants should receive vaccines first

Public health officials said, the U.S. should recommend the largest annual vaccination program ever undertaken as a way to prepare against the threat of an avian influenza pandemic.

An annual flu vaccination campaign led by the federal government that targets every American would ensure the U.S. can rapidly produce and administer enough shots to protect the country against a lethal contagion, said Rex Archer, president of the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

A U.S. outbreak of avian flu may kill as many as 1.9 million Americans and hospitalize 9.9 million, according to estimates in a U.S. plan released today that's intended to protect Americans against a pandemic.

Medical personnel and workers in drug-manufacturing plants should receive vaccines first, under the plan fleshed out by Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt.

&to=' target=_blank>President George W. Bush's flu pandemic plan announced yesterday may help increase vaccine production by protecting drugmakers such as Sanofi-Aventis SA, GlaxoSmithKline Plc, and Novartis AG against lawsuits. A universal flu shot recommendation would provide drugmakers an additional economic incentive to build the vaccine plants needed in a pandemic, reports Bloomberg. According to Houston Chronicle, sustained person-to-person spread of the bird flu or any other super-influenza strain anywhere in the world could prompt the United States to implement travel restrictions or other steps to block a brewing pandemic, say federal plans released today.

If a super-flu begins spreading here, states and cities will have to ration scarce medications and triage panicked patients to prevent them from overwhelming hospitals and spreading infection inside emergency rooms, the plan says.