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February 18, 2005

Breaking News: Stockpile bird flu vaccine now

Topics: Health Issues

I've posted numerous times on the emergence of a potential H5N1 pandemic since I first learned of the issues back on December 10, 2004. At that time cases were already being reported in China with a fear that eventually 100 million people could die. We've finally arrived where we are today with this new warning from WHO. The vaccine just might help to keep you from dying, but the chances are slim to none, owing to different emerging strains, that it will keep you from getting it. You just might wish you were dead but you'll live. I don't believe that the world is ready for this animal, but that's not going to stop it from coming. We'll need a lot of luck!

Governments should consider stockpiling vaccine against H5N1 bird flu now, before a pandemic starts, a World Health Organization report out next month will advise.                                    
The change in policy reflects growing fears that an H5 pandemic is likely, and that there will not be time to produce much vaccine once it starts. "When we realised H5N1 is not going to be eradicated in poultry in Asia for at least another couple of years, that made the risk of H5 much higher," Klaus Stöhr, head of the WHO's influenza team, told New Scientist.                                            

The US has already contracted manufacturers to make 4 million doses, while at a meeting at WHO headquarters in Geneva last week Italy and France said they plan to stockpile 2 million doses each.                                         
But in a world of over six billion people that is nowhere near enough to make a significant difference, as Stöhr points out. "This is an option only for affluent countries, and then for a fraction of their population," he says. "It won't change a lot at the global level."

Posted by Hyscience at February 18, 2005 9:17 AM

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