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Ninety million immediate doses of H1N1 swine-flu vaccine have been ordered by the UK government in subsidiary contracts with GlaxoSmithKline and Baxter, it has been revealed.
It follows a main contract signed in 2007 that allows for the supply of up to 132 million doses of a specific flu vaccine in the event that a pandemic is declared.
Health secretary Alan Johnson said: “We have an opportunity to secure vaccine in advance of a pandemic wave. We have advance-purchase agreements to provide vaccine for the entire UK population, which will take effect when phase 6 pandemic is declared. It will then take over a year for all the vaccine necessary to be provided.”
The subsidiary deal should provide enough vaccine to protect the most vulnerable people before a pandemic starts, without affecting the normal supply of seasonal flu vaccine.
It is reported that by December this year the UK will have enough vaccine to protect at least half of the population. If the World Health Organization (WHO) declares a pandemic before then, the main contract would come into force.
The total number of UK cases of swine flu has now passed 100.
Copyright Press Association 2009