Norway to transfer 10% of H1N1 vaccine stock to developing countries
Norway, the US, Australia, Brazil, Italy, New Zealand, Switzerland and the UK intend to transfer 10% of their stocks of the H1N1 vaccine to developing countries.
“Pandemics do not respect national borders. Our ability to protect ourselves against infections depends on other countries’ ability to protect themselves. The poorest countries are particularly vulnerable, and that is why this initiative is so important,” said Norway’s Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
This effort will be channelled through the World Health Organization (WHO), which will ensure that many of the poorest people in developing countries will have an opportunity to protect themselves against the flu virus. In Norway, the matter will be submitted to the Storting, which will take the final decision with regard to Norway’s contribution.
Norway’s Minister of Health and Care Services, Bjarne Håkon Hanssen, commented: “We have been able to ensure extensive vaccine coverage for the Norwegian people at an early stage, and it is good to know that we can make a contribution at global level.”
Mr Støre added: “This is an important initiative and a new form of global solidarity. The world’s poorest are already suffering due to weak health systems in many developing countries. The pandemic is an additional burden. It is therefore important that together we seek to resolve a global crisis that does not respect national borders. Priority must be given to the most vulnerable groups, particularly pregnant women and health workers.”
Norway’s planned contribution is mentioned in a press release from the US President Barack Obama on Sept. 16.