H1N1 Vaccine | H1N1 Vaccine to Be Distributed Soon to Countries That Need It
In the next few weeks, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, and Mongolia will be the first 3 countries to receive H1N1 influenza vaccine from donations made by manufacturers to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Keiji Fukuda, MD, MPH, special adviser on pandemic influenza to the director-general at the WHO, led a media briefing about the pandemic today.
According to Dr. Fukuda, the WHO identified those countries that would have little or no access to the vaccine and put out a request for vaccine donations from manufacturers. In response to that request, 6 manufacturers in 12 countries plan to provide approximately 180 million doses that will be distributed to approximately 95 countries.
Each country will receive enough vaccine for approximately 10% of the population. An initial 2% will be distributed first among healthcare workers, and the remaining 8% will be distributed among the general population, Dr. Fukuda said.
The WHO had originally planned to distribute the vaccine in early December. “We are still hoping to get vaccine out soon,” he said. “It is not too late,” he added.
The first countries will receive the vaccine in the next few weeks. According to Dr. Fukuda, countries were selected on the basis of their being in the Northern hemisphere, which is where H1N1 activity is highest right now. In addition, the WHO understands that these countries will be able to distribute the vaccine to the people who need it effectively.
H1N1 influenza activity is declining in some areas such as North America but continues to be high in parts of Europe, such as France, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic, and also in parts of Central Asia, Dr. Fukuda said.
He emphasized that it is too early to call the pandemic over yet. “We remain uncertain about what we will see in the early parts of 2010.”