H1N1 FLU BREAKING NEWS: Vaccine updates, support for sickest patients

No flu vaccine in Nigeria after first H1N1 death
Nigerian health authorities disclosed today that the country has no H1N1 vaccine with which to launch a flu-shot campaign, 2 weeks after recording its first death from the pandemic virus. The newspaper This Day reported that screening of the 38-year-old woman's close contacts revealed 8 infected people, out of 46, who were placed on antiviral treatment. The government is ramping up public education about infection risks.
Jan 20 This Day story

Japan OKs its first imported H1N1 vaccines
Today Japan approved domestic use of H1N1 flu vaccines made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Novartis, paving the way for their use within a month. Japan has finalized deals for enough GSK vaccine for 7.4 million healthy adults and Novartis vaccine for 2.5 million. The approval marks Japan's first agreement to accept imported vaccine. GSK earlier contracted to supply the country with 74 million doses of H1N1 vaccine.
Jan 20 Kyodo News International article

Mexico City offers vaccine for subway riders
Health officials in Mexico City this week began offering H1N1 vaccine at 26 of the city's busiest subway stations, the Associated Press (AP) reported. On Jan 18 about 10,200 of Mexico City's 300,000 vaccine doses were distributed at the subway stops. City officials said they will extend the immunization effort to markets by the end of the week. Mexico City was at the center of the novel H1N1 outbreak in the spring. The country hopes to vaccinate 24 million people by March.
Jan 19 AP story

Chinese expert seeks support for sickest flu patients
China's government should help seriously ill pandemic flu patients cover the cost of lengthy treatment, Dr Zhong Nanshan, one of the country's top respiratory disease specialists, said at a Jan 18 ceremony marking the hospital discharge of a teenage girl, China Daily reported today. He said a financial safety net would help reduce fear and barriers to treatment. Zhong first spoke out on the issue in December after a toddler was found dead after his parents took him out of the hospital.
Jan 20 China Daily story

Concern raised over vaccine and autoimmune disease
Switzerland's medical regulatory agency, Swissmedic, recommends that people who have serious autoimmune diseases not receive Novartis's H1N1 vaccine because it has not been tested in such patients, Reuters reported today. The agency said it could not exclude the risk that the vaccine antigen or adjuvant could exacerbate disease.
Jan 20 Reuters report

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