Friday, September 18, 2009

40,000 Doses Of Anti-H1N1 Vaccine To Be Available Next Month

BENTONG, Sept 17 (Bernama) -- A total of 40,000 doses of the 400,000 doses of anti-H1N1 vaccine ordered by the Health Ministry are expected to arrive in the country by the end of next month, said its minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

He said the vaccine would be evenly distributed with priority given to front line personnel and high risk groups like pregnant women and children.

The balance 360,000 doses would arrive in early January, he told reporters after attending a breaking of the fast function with the orang asli community in Sunagi Gapoh near here Wednesday.

Liow said the anti-H1N1 vaccine was being sourced from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) which is based in the United Kingdom.

He added that the ministry was also in the process of ordering more of such vaccine from other suppliers.

"We have to place bookings early and we are looking for the best quality. We try to get as many sources as possible including from China and Taiwan so that in case of emergency we can get more vaccine," he said, adding that the vaccine would have to have the approval of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

He also said the government had ordered that a vaccine making facility be set up in the near future.

"We are in the process of building one vaccine producing facility. Ninebio Sdn Bhd has been directed to set up the plant," he said.

Besides this, Liow said, in line WHO's warning of a possible second wave of the pandemic, the Cabinet had approved an allocation of RM158 million to increase beds and facilities at Intensive Care Units at government hospitals to face such a scenario. - Bernama

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