posted on May, 14 2009 @ 04:11 PM
THE Scottish government is to buy up enough swine flu vaccine to immunise the entire population, it was revealed today. The move was disclosed by
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon when she updated Parliament on latest efforts in the fight to contain the virus. In recent days, scientists had
identified the genetic fingerprint of the European strain of the virus, she told MSPs. That was "a crucial first step" in the production of a
vaccine and the aim in the UK was to secure supplies of an effective vaccine as soon as it became available. The aim was to secure enough supplies to
allow vaccination of the whole population. Ms Sturgeon said the UK had advance supply contracts in place for a pandemic vaccine, but this could only
be triggered in certain circumstances - like the World Health Organization declaring Phase 6 of a pandemic. "Obviously we do not know when or if
these triggers will be reached," she said. "We do know that if we simply wait until then we risk losing the capacity manufacturers have available
now which would allow us to build up a stockpile and get a vaccination programme under way before the winter. "I can therefore advise Parliament
that I have decided, in discussion with the health ministers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, to secure and purchase early supplies of vaccine.
"Negotiations with manufacturers are ongoing and I would hope that agreement on a contract and delivery schedule will be reached very soon." Ms
Sturgeon said that by the time a pandemic was declared, global demand for a vaccine would outstrip the capacity to supply it. "Under any scenario
and even after our sleeping contracts kick in, it will be a number of months before we get supplies sufficient for 100% of the population," she said.
"The decision that we have taken now to utilise spare manufacturing capacity is therefore important in seeking to secure an early supply to allow a
vaccination programme - focussed initially on priority groups - to get under way as quickly as possible." She began her progress report by telling
MSPs that Scotland still has five confirmed cases of swine flu, a further four probable cases, and 12 possible cases. A nursery and a primary school
in Greenock, Inverclyde, have already been closed amid fears that swine flu could be spreading among pupils. Two children, aged five and three, were
found to be probable cases of the virus. The older child's 45-year-old mother and a 16-year-old girl are also probable cases. Ms Sturgeon said
those cases are linked to a 19-year-old from Greenock who was confirmed with swine flu over the weekend. She told MSPs today there were no immediate
plans to close further schools. "I also want to stress that these are not precedent-setting cases," she added. "If similar situations occur in
other schools in Scotland, which we are obviously hoping will not happen, they will all be risk assessed on a case by case basis. Users' Com
Well, it looks like Scotland wil be the testing ground for the public's response to a mass vaccination program.
I'd rather take my chances with the flu than trust the vaccine.
[edit on 14-5-2009 by kiwifoot]