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Winter flu vaccine ready from today

Vaccines cost about €6 from pharmacies and are free for over-65s and people with long-term health conditions

VACCINES against seasonal flu are available in pharmacies from today, and this year they include protection against swine flu.

The jab is not compulsory, but is recommended for over-65s and those with such health issues as lung, heart or kidney problems or diabetes.

These priority groups will have the cost of the vaccine and the cost of seeing a nurse fully reimbursed and will be receiving letters in the post.

Others wishing to be vaccinated will have to pay about €6 for the dose and a few euros for the nurse.

Once picked up from the pharmacy, the vaccine should be stored in a fridge until your appointment. Some companies will offer it to employees at their place of work.

The jab protects against three common strains of flu, which the World Health Organisation believes will be the most prevalent this winter, including swine flu (H1N1).

Although the swine flu epidemic in France is over, the virus is still spreading gradually.

Only eight per cent of the population volunteered for the swine flu jab during last autumn's national vaccination campaign.

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