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Free swine flu vaccine for developing world

According to a report, the World Health Organisation has announced that approximately 100 developing countries will receive donations of swine flu vaccines

According to a report by AFP, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced that approximately 100 developing countries will receive donations of swine flu vaccines from both pharmaceutical companies and a US-led group of rich nations, which have pledged to release 10 per cent of their vaccine purchases. 

Head of the WHO's vaccine research unit, Marie-Paule Kieny, said the deliveries will be targeted at low and middle income countries, and that the plan is to start rolling these out in the northern hemisphere first in preparation for the winter. Dr Kieny also said it was hoped the first deliveries would take place in November, and that they "should target about two per cent of the population there over the next four or five months, beginning with health workers and followed by other vulnerable groups."

The 150 million doses of vaccine for this programme will be donated by GlaxoSmithKine (GSK) and sanofi-aventis, along with a third company – Medimmune – which will make an as yet unspecified amount of vaccine in the form of a nasal spray available. Dr Kieny confirmed that just one dose was sufficient to provide immunity and that there was no reason to doubt the safety of the A(H1N1) vaccines, which have been approved by regulators. 

At the beginning of October PMLiVE reported that GSK's H1N1 vaccine had gained EU approval. According to the article, the European Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) issued a positive opinion and recommended approval of Pandemrix on September 25. Trials of the vaccine began in August and demonstrated that after one dose the vaccine can provide a strong immune response that exceeds the immunogenic criteria defined by international licensing authorities for a pandemic influenza vaccine.

12th October 2009

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