By lowering the likely number of influenza cases, Beijing hopes to increase its readiness for the killer coronavirus Beijing is taking a number of preventive measures to raise the capital's readiness for a possible return of Sars as the flu season approaches. A flu vaccination campaign - undertaken on the advice of the World Health Organisation - was launched this week and thousands of Beijing citizens have been given injections in hospitals across the city. Each shot costs 64 yuan (HK$60). Yesterday, some clinics in the capital said they were already running out of vaccine. Hospitals and vaccination centres run by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said new stocks would arrive by the end of the week. A nurse at Beijing Tongren Hospital said about 300 people - mostly children - reported to the hospital for vaccination yesterday. 'They were not organised by their work units to come here. They are just individuals. Many parents brought their children, many were toddlers under three,' she said. 'We don't have much vaccine left. You've got to be quick, otherwise we will run out of stock soon.' An old man queuing up for the injection at the hospital yesterday said he decided to have the shot after he read reports about the flu season in newspapers. However, he admitted he was not sure about the purpose of the injection and why the vaccine was for flu and not for Sars. 'I am going to take the injection anyway. I am not sure if I can obtain reimbursement from my work unit, but I will remember to get a receipt just in case,' he said. A health-care worker said priority would be given to frontline staff. Teams were also dispatched to schools and kindergartens to give children injections. The vaccination campaign began last Monday and the authorities hoped that it would help ease the workload of fever clinics - should Sars return - by lowering the chances of people falling ill because of flu. During their initial periods, flu and Sars patients shared common symptoms such as fever. Health authorities in Beijing were alerted last week after dozens of migrant workers were admitted to a fever clinic in Chaoyang Hospital after showing fever symptoms. They were later diagnosed with another kind of infection, not Sars, and most of them had been discharged, sources said. Jin Shuigao, director of the national CDC's Sars information centre, said there had been no probable cases on the mainland as of Tuesday. He also said a new intranet reporting system established by the centre would be up and running next month. It will help authorities obtain updated information and make more informed decisions about the situation in the provinces if there is another outbreak. 'I can tell you responsibly that there are no probable cases so far. I will be informed immediately once there is a probable case,' Mr Jin said.