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Czech president opposes swine flu vaccination

Associated Press Modified: January 27, 2010 at 9:38 am •  Published: January 27, 2010

PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech Republic's president says he is opposing a mandatory vaccination program against swine flu for the Czech military.

Vaclav Klaus says he considers the order of Czech military chief of general staff Lt. Gen. Vlastimil Picek to vaccinate 16,000 soldiers "highly controversial, if not unacceptable."

Klaus said in a statement Wednesday he has asked Defense Minister Martin Bartak to make the vaccination voluntary because of the possible risks linked to the vaccination. He also said the country does not face an epidemic that would justify the measure.

Bartak said in a statement Wednesday the number of soldiers in the program will be lowered but gave no details. The minister plans to get a shot soon, the ministry said.