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TOKYO, October 19 (RIA Novosti) - A large-scale vaccination campaign against swine flu started in Japan on Monday, with priority given to medical staff, the country's health ministry said.
Some 77 million people, more than half of Japan's population, are to be vaccinated against the H1N1 virus by March 2010, the ministry said. Japan is expected to produce 27 million vaccine doses, with another 50 million to be imported.
Vaccination will be on a voluntary basis, with priority first given to medical workers, then from November to people suffering from serious diseases and pregnant women, and then children aged up to 10 years starting from mid-December. Other children, elderly people and infants' parents are to be vaccinated starting from January.
The United States said Thursday it has begun implementing a massive campaign to vaccinate millions of Americans against swine flu, with the first 600,000 doses to be distributed in coming days.
"We are transitioning from the planning phase to the implementation phase," Schuchat told reporters.