The UK Department of Health has announced that free seasonal flu vaccinations will be offered to people who work in close contact with poultry, as a precautionary public health measure.
This voluntary vaccination programme is to protect poultry workers from seasonal (human) flu. Protecting poultry workers against human flu reduces any slight risk that the worker could catch human flu and avian(bird) flu at the same time; thus reducing the risk of a new virus emerging.
Seasonal flu vaccination does not protect against bird flu. The programme will run from 22_January to 31_March. Information packs are being sent to all keepers of poultry who are required to be registered, and approved slaughterhouses in England. More than 60,000 poultry workers may be eligible for the flu vaccine.