Spain buys 10 million doses of bird flu vaccine

18th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

18 October 2005, MADRID — Spain is to buy between six and ten million more doses of avian flu vaccine, enough to protect up to 25 percent of the population.

18 October 2005

MADRID — Spain is to buy between six and ten million more doses of avian flu vaccine, enough to protect up to 25 percent of the population.

As the threat of an avian flu pandemic increased with new cases in Romania, Turkey and Greece in recent days, the government moved to increase the amount of vaccine at its disposal.

Before it only had two million doses or enough to treat five percent of the population - those who were deemed most at risk.

The government also announced it is to set up an inter-ministerial commission to monitor the progress of avian flu as it spreads across Spain.

Manuel Oñorbe, Spanish director general of public health, said: "The efficiency of the vaccine is not a panacea against this type of flu."

Spain has drawn up its own emergency plan to deal with avian flu should there be an outbreak.

This consists of isolating the first cases, vaccinating emergency workers and using the armed forces to guard vaccine supplies in case of a national panic.

Juan Manuel Ballesteros, head of the Spanish food safety agency, said avian flu did not represent a food hazzard and urged people to remain calm after recent reports of its spread and potential danger to humans.

"The bird flu started in autumn 2003 in south east Asia and even though the general impression is that it has just developed in recent months, we have been prepared since then for a possible outbreak, " said Ballesteros.

"It is a problem with birds. It is only a possibility that it could combine with human flu virus. We shold be alert but not alarmist."

He said there was no evidence that it was transmitted through food.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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