Shanghai calls for blood in swine-flu war

SHANGHAI — City health authorities on Dec. 2 launched their latest drive in the fight against swine flu, calling on people who have been vaccinated against the virus to donate blood for emergency-treatment storage, according to the Shanghai Daily.

First in line will be 34 inoculated medical staff members at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center who were expected to donate blood Dec. 3.

City blood-collection authorities said that general donations were also welcome as supplies were low, particularly of types A and O.

According to experts, a person starts to produce antibodies three weeks after catching H1N1 flu or two weeks after vaccination.

Blood from these people can then be used to treat patients seriously affected by the H1N1 virus, officials in China say.

"Using serum from vaccinated staff to treat serious cases is mentioned in a treatment guide issued by the Ministry of Health," said Dr Lu Hongzhou, a member of city's expert panel on swine-flu treatment and one of the 34 expected donors.

The technology is safe and we have used it on our patients with good results," Lu said.

Since carrying out vaccinations on the most at-risk groups of the population, such as medical staff, public servants and students and teachers at primary and middle schools, Shanghai has inoculated more than 800,000 people.

A total of 2.1 million people will be included in the vaccination plan, which has been expanded to university students and people aged 60 and over with local residency.