Page last updated at 14:46 GMT, Thursday, 10 September 2009 15:46 UK

Plan to combat swine flu outlined

Woman sneezing
It's hoped the swine flu vaccination programme will begin at the end of October

The Chief Medical Officer has told the Assembly Health Committee that the beginning of the swine flu vaccination programme is planned for the end of October.

Priority groups, including those working on the front line of the health service, will be among the first to receive the vaccine.

Dr Michael McBride said the vaccine can only be delivered when it is properly licensed.

That is expected to happen this month.

GP consultations for flu have recently decreased, but remain significantly higher than rates recorded in the same weeks of previous years.

Dr McBride told the committee that swine flu has cost the local economy £30m.

He said current predictions could see that figure rising to £96m but that would be in the worst case scenario.

When asked by a committee member if it was safe to "kiss a corpse - of someone who had died from swine flu", Dr McBride said that wasn't advisable as the virus doesn't actually die.

Consultation rates for flu-like illness

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