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Countries sell off surplus swine flu vaccines

Countries sell off surplus swine flu vaccines
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Swine flu vaccines are being sold from one country to another, with France getting rid of surplus stocks bought at the height of fears about the pandemic.

The French government banked on a double dose being needed to protect each patient whereas it has now emerged a single jab will suffice.

That combined with a low-take up rate – only 5 million French citizens have been vaccinated – means there are plenty of vaccines to spare.

Of the 94 million doses originally ordered by Paris, Qatar has bought 300,000, Egypt is set to buy 2 million and 9 million were given to the World Health Organisation.

Confirming at least 12,220 deaths from HIN1 flu around the globe, the WHO says the pandemic appears to be declining. Yet despite widespread vaccination campaigns, the UN body believes the virus may not be conquered until 2011.

Its latest swine-flu mortality figures come with a warning for continued vigilance againt HIN1 which, the WHO says, can stil mutate.

The most active areas of transmission today include Ukraine, Georgia and Montenegro. With Kiev reportedly seeking to buy more vaccines, the French and Germans are competing to meet that need.