Who Will Get The Swine Flu First

Armen Hareyan's picture

We are not all equal before the influenza A (H1N1). This is the complain about the swine flu preparedness from the Director of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan, who regretted that the rich countries have priority access to vaccine against influenza A (H1N1) at the expense of poorer countries.

The number of swine flu vaccine doses available by the fall will be limited. Those who can afford the vaccine will have precedence over others. This inequality is even more critical that all countries will need the vaccine, said Monday an official of WHO.

The swine flu vaccine is being prepared and should be made available by this fall.

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According to the National Director of Public Health of Quebec, Alain Poirier, after a year of production of the vaccine, only four billion doses would be ready for a world population estimated at 6.8 billion.

There is talk of a "principle of international solidarity" to put in place to ensure fairness in the distribution of the vaccine. The question of ethics will be discussed at the meeting to be held in Toronto between scientists across the country next week.

Danielle Grondin of the Public Health Agency of Canada indicates that there is a health plan in the country, established in 2006, in consultation with provinces and territories in Canada. Ms. Grondin explained that the plan identifies who should receive the vaccine, according to clinical, legal and ethical considerations.

There is some hierarchy in regard to access to the vaccine. Health care workers will be a priority to reduce disease transmission. This is also the case for so-called at-risk populations such as pregnant women and people with chronic illness.

Written by Armen Hareyan. AFP materials are used in this story.