September 17, 2009

White House: U.S. to share H1N1 vaccine

The United States is prepared to make 10 percent of its H1N1 vaccine supply available to other countries, an announcement by the White House said Thursday.

In recognition that diseases know no borders and that the health of the American people is inseparable from the health of people around the world, the United States is taking this action in concert with Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, the White House statement said.

The United States will make the H1N1 vaccine available to the World Health Organization on a rolling basis as vaccine supplies become available, in order to assist countries that will not otherwise have direct access to the vaccine.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration officially licensed the H1N1 influenza vaccine. Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health announced that one dose of the vaccine -- instead of two doses -- will be effective in developing immunity in most adults, White House officials said.

The vaccine is expected to be made available in the coming weeks, earlier than originally anticipated.

White House officials said they were confident that the United States will have sufficient doses of the vaccine to ensure that every American who wants a vaccine is able to receive one.

Health officials recommend pregnant women, healthcare workers, people caring for infants less than six months of age and other high-risk populations to get the H1N1 vaccine early.