Seriously ill people and health care workers are the first to receive the jab

The UK has started its country wide vaccination programme to protect people against the swine flu outbreak.

The first vaccinations have begun on seriously ill hospital patients and healthcare staff.

Next week doctors will begin inviting people with health problems, damaged immune systems and pregnant women to get the jab.

The government has not yet decided whether the entire population will receive the vaccination, but enough doses have been ordered, reported the BBC.

Speaking to the broadcaster, Sir Liam Donaldson, the government's chief medical officer, urged everyone in the priority groups to have the vaccine.

Thus far, only 100 people have died of swine flu in the UK—out of the 500,000 who have become infected.