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Health Officer Expects Hundreds Of Ala. Swine Flu Deaths

Montgomery, AL – State health officials say they expect the swine flu virus to kill some 1,000 people in Alabama this fall and winter, triggering the need for mass vaccination clinics.

Health officials warned Thursday that the virus is also expected to cause absentee rates to hit 40 percent in schools and 20 percent in workplaces.

State Health officer Dr. Don Williamson said the virus has spread more rapidly around the world than any virus in history.

Williamson said a vaccine will not be available until late September at the earliest.

Children will be immunized first, followed by pregnant women, adults caring for children, health workers and adults 25 to 64 years old. People will also need to be immunized against the normal, seasonal flu in late August.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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