Canada to provide vaccine to Asia for bird flu protection

Canada has given its main influenza vaccine supplier the green light to sell up to 200,000 doses of human flu vaccine originally for Canadian services to countries in Southeast Asia battling bird flu, a Canadian Press report said Wednesday.

"Canada has more vaccine than it needs at this time. Over 200,000 doses of influenza vaccine can be made available to other countries," said Irene Aguzzi, spokeswoman for Public Works and Government Services Ministry.

"We have given Shire Biologics, a Quebec based company, the green light to look at all those 200,000 doses, according to the needs that come in," she said.

Earlier in the day, the president of Shire Biologics said the government of Vietnam had asked to buy 20,000 doses of human vaccine from the company.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is recommending that those handling infected birds should be inoculated against the human fluvirus to reduce the risk the mass cull might trigger an influenza pandemic.

The WHO appealed to pharmaceutical companies to donate human flu vaccine and anti-viral drugs in a bid to reduce the risk of genetic change in the bird flu virus.

Source: Xinhua



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