The World Health Organization (WHO) plans to send 200 million doses of vaccine for the H1N1 influenza virus to about 100 developing countries, WHO Director-General, Margaret Chan, said on Wednesday, in Havana.
In a press conference at the end of her visit to Cuba, Dr. Chan admitted that vaccine production capacity is limited, but said the WHO is working alongside UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to get manufacturers and other stakeholders to make vaccines available to poor countries.
Chan said the commitment they had obtained so far was to make 200 doses of vaccine available to the WHO within the coming year, and that the organization would send the medication on to developing countries, including Cuba.
The head of the WHO said that one dose would be enough for adults, while children under 10 would require two doses to be protected against the so-called swine flu virus. Chan noted that 25 manufacturers around the world were producing the vaccine, although not all clinical tests were complete yet.
She stressed that the WHO is promoting measures to combat the virus beyond pharmaceutical methods, from simple hand washing to education about respiratory diseases. Hygiene, information and vaccines are complementary, she said.
Chan added that the WHO has sent doses of the antiviral drug Tamiflu to 121 developing Nations, which is widely used to treat H1N1 patients.