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WHO H1N1 Vaccine Shipments Headed To More Developing Countries

The WHO on Friday announced “it had delivered the first doses of H1N1 [swine flu] vaccine to Cuba, and a dozen countries in Africa would receive millions of doses in coming weeks,” Reuters reports. According to WHO spokeswoman Karen Mah, Cuba received an estimated 1.1 million doses Wednesday, and Honduras and El Salvador shipments are “en route,” according to the news service.

According to Reuters, “Cuba has reported 54 deaths from H1N1 flu, also known as swine flu, the greatest number in the Caribbean, according to the U.N. agency. … The H1N1 virus also continues to spread across much of West Africa, including in Ghana and Nigeria, although clinical data is limited, the WHO said” (Nebehay, 3/19).

WHO spokesman Gregory Hart said, 10-15 countries in Africa, including Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, will receive H1N1 vaccines within weeks, Reuters writes in a second story. “The shipment for Nigeria, expected to go in coming days, would contain about 2.8 million doses,” the news service writes (3/19).

Xinhua reports Hartl also named Cameroon, Togo and Namibia to be recipients of H1N1 vaccines from the WHO (3/20).

The WHO “says so far, it has delivered more than four million doses of the H1N1 swine flu vaccine to 17 countries,” VOA News reports in a story that examines the criteria countries must meet before becoming eligible to receive the H1N1 vaccines. “The stocks are among 180 million doses of the vaccine donated to the WHO from pharmaceutical companies and industrialized countries” (Schlein, 3/20).

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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.