VN asks WHO for H1N1 vaccine direction

Following the recent withdrawal of two batches of H1N1 vaccine in Canada due to suspected poor quality, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health has asked the World Health Organization (WHO) to make an official recommendation for Vietnam.

The country has imported around 1.2 million doses of H1N1 vaccine, said the National Steering Board for Vaccination against H1N1 on November 29. GlaxoSmithKline, through the WHO, supplies the vaccine for Vietnam and Canada.

Canadian health authorities decided to suspend the use of two batches of GlaxoSmithKline-supplied vaccine in late October, after higher-than-normal rates of adverse reactions were reported.

Vietnam has suggested the WHO provide another batch of vaccine or use a different supplier to ensure patient safety in case the vaccines were taken from the same batch as that in Canada.

Nguyen Tran Hien, director of the Central Institute of Hygiene Epidemiology, said 40 nations are currently using the H1N1 vaccine with 60 million people now inoculated worldwide.

In related news, the health ministry on the same day reported another death from swine flu. The 59-year-old victim from the northern province of Quang Ninh died on November 26. He also suffered from schizophrenia.

To date, Vietnam has reported 11,000 swine flu infections with 44 fatalities.

By Q. Lap - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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