Saturday, July 25, 2009

Canada will have enough vaccines to share

From the Globe and Mail:
Canadians will have a better chance of getting vaccinated against the pandemic influenza than people in many other countries, including the United States and Britain, thanks to nearly a decade of planning for the disease's arrival.

“We're actually in a fairly unique position of having domestic capacity, of having planned for that in Canada now for many years,” David Butler-Jones, Canada's chief public health officer, said in an interview with The Globe and Mail Thursday.

In 2001, the federal government began a 10-year agreement with a drug company that was eventually sold to GlaxoSmithKline. That contract obligates the giant pharmaceutical manufacturer to provide vaccine to every Canadian who wants it in the event of a pandemic.

Canada was the first country in the world to sign such an agreement, and, in exchange, it has given the company money to expand the capacity of its plant at Ste-Foy, Que.

“Three or four years ago, we could fill about eight million doses a month,” said Dr. Butler-Jones. “Now it's up closer to 14 million. So, within a couple of months, we have enough vaccine essentially for everybody living in Canada to get at least one dose, which would probably be sufficient for most of us.” ...more

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