Thursday, August 20, 2009

Australia orders 21 million doses of H1N1 vaccine

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australia has ordered 21 million doses of swine flu vaccine, one for each person, with mass vaccinations to start nationally within weeks, the government said on Thursday.

Two million doses of the vaccine being developed by pharmaceutical company CSL Ltd would be distributed to doctors from next week, with pregnant women, the chronically ill and health workers getting treatment first.

"I think it's anticipated by the middle or end of September we will be starting to vaccinate the priority groups that, of course, are the most vulnerable," Health Minister Nicola Roxon told reporters.

Australia has 32,224 confirmed cases of H1N1, with 121 deaths associated with the pandemic.

Most cases have been in the most populous states of New South Wales and Victoria in the country's south east, which are in the middle of the southern hemisphere winter and flu season.

Leading flu vaccine makers include Roche, Sanofi-Aventis, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Baxter, CSL and Solvay.


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