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Increase In Number Of Domestic H1N1 Cases Concerns China’s Minister Of Health

“China faces a grim situation in containing the H1N1 [swine] flu, as schools start up again and the number of domestic cases, as well as clusters of cases, rises, China’s Minister of Health said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports. “[A]fter an initial phase when most cases in China were of foreigners who arrived with the disease,” Chen Zhu – who the news service writes is “one of only two ministers in China who do not belong to the Communist Party” – said the number of domestic H1N1 cases has jumped (Hornby, 9/8), representing 95 percent of new infections in the past week.

Chen said the country’s H1N1 vaccination program is slated to begin this week, but “warned that supply would likely fall far short of demand,” Agence France-Presse/Strait Times reports. The Chinese government plans to have vaccinated 65 million people, or five percent of the total population, by the end of the year, the news service writes (9/8).

On Friday, the Chinese government ordered 7.3 million doses of H1N1 vaccines from Sinovac Biotech and Hualan Biological, Reuters reports (9/8).

Among the first to receive the H1N1 vaccine will be the 100,000 student volunteers participating in China’s National Day celebrations on October 1, according to state media, AFP reports in a separate article. “The measure is part of a plan put in place by the Beijing municipal health bureau to ensure that the festivities marking 60 years of communist rule go off without a hitch, the China Daily reported, quoting bureau spokesman Ma Yanming,” the news service writes (9/8).

Forbes examines recent skepticism by some health experts who question the efficacy of the one-dose H1N1 vaccine recently approved in China compared to a two-dose H1N1 vaccine. “At issue isn’t whether these vaccines will harm or help patients, but rather just how much they will help every segment of the population,” the news service writes (Alberts, 9/8).

Potential H1N1 Vaccine Production Difficulties Could Complicate U.S. Plans

The Chicago Tribune examines how the potential for delayed H1N1 vaccine production might complicate the U.S. government’s vaccination plan (Mullen, 9/8).

Sanofi Pasteur To Supply Brazil With 18M Doses Of H1N1 Vaccine

In related news, the vaccine manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur agreed to supply Brazil with 18 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine, Reuters reports. “The deal could be extended by 15 million doses if the World Health Organization (WHO) asks flu vaccine makers to switch production from the regular seasonal flu vaccine to the pandemic H1N1 vaccine, Sanofi Pasteur said in a statement,” the news service reports (9/8).

Roche Spokesman Says Few Cases Of Tamiflu-Resistant H1N1

There have been 13 reports of patients experiencing Tamiflu-resistant H1N1, Roche spokesman David Reddy said Monday, “which [the company] calls a very low percentage,” the Associated Press reports. Though Reddy said that the company was uncertain why resistance occurred in the 13 patients, he said there “was an indication that many were taking only half a dose” (Higgins, 9/7).

Ecuador Official Dies From H1N1; Namibia Reports First Death From H1N1

“The head of Ecuador’s presidential security has died of H1N1 flu, the government announced” Sunday, CNN reports (9/7). Also, the Namibian/allAfrica.com reports a 37-year-old man became Namibia’s first H1N1-related death (Shejavali, 9/7).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.