8 Jul 2009

Cook Islands welcomes new vaccine

10:21 am on 8 July 2009

The Cook Islands says a new vaccine against swine flu made available by New Zealand is welcome news.

New Zealand has bought 300,000 doses of the vaccine to be delivered within the month to protect key pandemic staff, a proportion of which will go to its affiliated states, including the Cooks.

The vaccine is not expected to be given to these workers until it's licensed by December, but if the pandemic worsens, they would have access to it before it's fully licensed.

The Cooks Islands director of hospital health services, Heather Webber-Aitu, says the country will continue to take precautions against the virus.

"Our policy is to take care of frontline staff first, so I dearsay the NZ prioritisation would be along the similar lines, so that's customs, immigration, police, health."

Heather Webber-Aitu says the country had so far three confirmed swine flu cases, all in returning travellers.