Poorer countries need assistance with H1N1 vaccine

Jenny Decker RN's picture
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According to United Nations officials, poor countries are facing explosive outbreaks of the swine flu pandemic. They state that poorer countries need assistance with the H1N1 vaccine. Julie Hall, an expert from the UN’s World Health Organization told a news conference, “We are anticipating that we may well see a different pattern of impact once this virus starts to take off and those explosive outbreaks occur in poorer communities.”

The United States, Brazil, and France have donated 10% of their national stockpile of H1N1 vaccine to be available to developing countries. In addition, manufacturers are donating about 150 million doses of the vaccine. However, David Nabarro, the UN senior influenza coordinator, has warned that this supply is still inadequate.

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Making matters worse, pharmaceutical firms will only be able to produce three billion doses of swine flu vaccine a year. This covers less than half of the global population, writes AFP. The WHO predicts that one-third of the world’s population may catch the swine flu. This is 1/3 of 7 billion people.

Nabarro is asking for cash donations in order to help the developing countries ensure that the vaccines that are sent will be made available to health care workers and essential personnel and to raise awareness and improve their health services infrastructure. Nabarro also stated that wealthy nations and poor nations must be able to build solidarity between them in order to provide better chances of getting the swine flu shots out.

Although September and October are generally the start of the seasonal flu season, signs of the second wave of H1N1 are here. Officials are racing against time to get the swine flu vaccines out in time. In the meantime, the seasonal flu vaccine is being highly encouraged. According the World Health Organization, the swine flu has killed nearly 4000 people in 191 countries as of the 20th of September.

Signs and symptoms of the swine flu include high fever, sore throat, difficulty breathing, fatigue, and cough. If you suspect that you have swine flu or you have been exposed to the swine flu, call your doctor. Antiviral treatment should begin within the first 48 hours. To prevent swine flu, carry hand sanitizer, wash your hands frequently, and avoid other types of infections as they may decrease your ability to fight off the swine flu.

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