The Government has revealed it has stockpiled enough Tamiflu to cover 25% of the population if the UK is hit by a flu pandemic.
The disclosure came after crossbencher Baroness Boothroyd, who is the former Commons Speaker, asked the Government at question time about the current level of stocks of the drug.
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, for ministers, said: “Currently we have got enough for 25% of the population and we are currently buying enough to cover 50% of the population.
“Much of that will be available by the end of 2008 but some of it will come on line in 2009 and 2010.”
Liberal Democrat Baroness Tonge, a former GP, asked: “Has the Government considered pre-pandemic vaccines with a vaccine that resembles but is not totally the virus that is going to infect the population eventually but will infer some immunity?”
Baroness Royall replied: “We have got a stockpile of H5N1 vaccines and we are very closely watching scientific developments to see if any other vaccines might become available that would ensure people could be vaccinated as soon as there were a pandemic.
“If the science is there we will buy the vaccines.”
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