News of the WeekSwine Flu Outbreak

China First to Vaccinate Against Novel H1N1 Virus

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Science  18 Sep 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5947, pp. 1482-1483
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_1482

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No country has taken stricter measures than China to protect residents from pandemic swine flu. Although its draconian quarantine system sparked scientific debate and more than a few diplomatic spats before it was scaled back a couple of months ago, China's latest exploit is winning praise: Earlier this week, China was first off the blocks to launch a mass vaccination campaign against the novel H1N1 virus. As the swine flu pandemic picks up steam, China is racing to immunize a sizable percentage of its 1.3 billion people before the pandemic's expected peak here this autumn or early winter. Epidemiologists here forecast that, without mass vaccination, tens of millions will become infected in China and hundreds of thousands will seek treatment.