Colds and flu

03 September 2009

Flu vaccine R160 for rich, R20 for poor

Countries can expect to pay between R20 and R160 for a dose of swine flu vaccine depending on their ability to meet the costs, a WHO official said.

Countries can expect to pay between R20 and R160 for a dose of swine flu vaccine depending on their ability to meet the costs, a WHO official said.

Marie-Paule Kieny, the head of vaccine research at the World Health Organisation, also warned that there would not be enough vaccines for the world's population and that people should not rely entirely on the vaccine. Rather, they should take other preventive measures against the A(H1N1) virus, such as avoiding large gatherings, closing schools and observing personal hygiene.

"Coverage will be partial and not only in developing countries. But we should not be 'hypnotised' by vaccines," said Kieny in the interview published in the WHO's Bulletin, a health journal. "There are other measures, such as social distancing, school closure, avoidance of large gatherings, antibiotics and personal hygiene. This is not like rabies, which is 100% fatal: we are talking about a disease from which most people recover very well," she added.

WHO will assist countries
Kieny reiterated that the WHO will help countries to get as much vaccine as possible, and that the wealthiest countries may have to pay up to 20 dollars (R160).

"The industry will use tiered pricing, so high-income countries might pay between 10 and 20 dollars per dose, middle-income countries may pay about half that and low-income half that price again," she said. "These are ballpark figures, but this is the order of magnitude," she added.

Britain and France have received their first batches of swine flu vaccine in late August, as governments began to arm themselves against an expected second wave of the pandemic in the northern winter.

At least 2,185 people have died after contracting the swine flu virus which has overtaken other viruses to become the most prevalent flu strain. - (Sapa, September 2009)

Read more:
Swine flu timeline


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Dr Heidi van Deventer completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 2004 at the University of Stellenbosch.
She has additional training in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) as well as biostatistics and epidemiology.

Dr Van Deventer is currently working as a researcher at the Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.

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