Vatican Health Director on H1N1: Stay Calm

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 20, 2009 ( The Vatican’s health director continues to urge people to avoid useless alarm regarding Influenza A, noting that vaccinations have to be thoroughly studied before their release to the public.

Giovanni Rocchi today spoke with Vatican Radio about the H1N1 virus, acknowledging that “we find ourselves faced with a surprise, though a relative one, because there are many precedents.”

Rocchi noted that the number of those who have died because of the swine flu is relatively low — some 3,000 to 5,000. “Therefore, the specific mortality is low, or rather, it is considered very low,” he said. “Certainly the diffusion of the illness is so widespread that later, a significant number of deaths will be reported.”

Nevertheless, Rocchi added, a race for vaccinations is not in order, “since they will not be available until they are ready and the efficacy and safeness is verified, that is, that there are minimal secondary effects.”

Vaccinations for the virus are expected to be available in the fall, but the health director affirmed that “it is useless to run off in search of a vaccine that doesn’t exist.”

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