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Homeland Security

Head of UN health agency applauds H1N1 vaccine donations for developing world

18 September 2009 – The head of the United Nations health agency today applauded the announcement of donations of H1N1 flu vaccine made by several of the world’s richest nations, which will help boost supplies to populations that would otherwise not have access.

“The announcement demonstrates the commitment of these countries to fairness in sharing of scarce resources as the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic continues to evolve,” Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), said in a statement.

The United States reportedly said on Thursday that it is prepared to make 10 per cent of its H1N1 vaccine supply available to developing countries through WHO.

The announcement by the US, in concert with Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, could not have come at a better time, noted Dr. Chan.

“Current supplies of pandemic vaccine are inadequate for a world population in which virtually everyone is susceptible to infection by a new and readily contagious virus.

“Given that current demand outstrips supply, these donations, together with the doses pledged by manufacturers, will help increase supplies of pandemic vaccines to populations that would otherwise not have access,” said Dr. Chan.

She added that WHO continues to support developing countries to ensure donated vaccines are distributed where they are most needed.

As of 11 September, there have been more than 277,600 laboratory confirmed cases of H1N1 worldwide, with at least 3,200 deaths attributed to the pandemic.

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