Flu Vaccine Makers Pledge to Increase Production Capacity

Meeting at the 62nd World Health Assembly with the leaders of WHO and the UN, 30 manufacturers promised to cooperate in supplying developing countries. WHO's Margaret Chan said she'll seek funding to make that happen.

The leaders of the United Nations and the World Health Organization met Tuesday with representatives of 30 flu vaccine manufacturers and pronounced themselves satisfied with the manufacturers' commitment to increase production capacity of vaccines and also to supply developing countries, which is a key goal of WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan. The meeting took place during the 62nd World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

"We have a very serious commitment from companies in the North and in the South to work with WHO," Chan said during a news conference with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Chan said his ability to mobilize resources "is extremely vital when the world is under threat of an imminent pandemic" and promised to work with the UN and other members of the global community to find innovative funding mechanisms to ensure developing countries have access to vaccines.

WHO today said 41 countries have officially reported 10,243 cases of influenza A(H1N1) infection, including 80 deaths. Australia confirmed a total of five cases, all of them mild, in that country today, while Canada issued a travel health notice stating it is no longer recommending that Canadians postpone non-essential travel to Mexico because of the flu virus. While Canada Border Services Agency officials will continue to give flu informational handouts to all international travelers entering Canada by land or air and will continue to visually assess whether travelers appear to be ill, Health Alert Notices will no longer be distributed to passengers on direct flights to Mexico, and quarantine officers will no longer meet every direct flight entering Canada from Mexico.

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