France has become the latest country to shrug off swine flu epidemic concerns, after the government revealed that it would be selling off millions of doses of surplus vaccines.
The French Government has announced that the 94 million doses of A(H1N1) vaccine for the A(H1N1) virus, bought at an estimated cost of €869m, was far more than needed as only five million people have been vaccinated since the programme was launched in October.
The French Health Ministry told AFP that the decision had been taken after European medical authorities confirmed that a one-off vaccination was enough to protect against the virus.
“We started with a plan for two-dose vaccinations but since one dose is sufficient we can start to re-sell part of the stock,” a French health ministry official told the AFP.
The ministry confirmed that Qatar had already bought 300,000 doses and that Egypt is negotiating to buy two million while Mexico and Ukraine are also interested.
France joins a growing list of countries selling off unneeded vaccines, which includes the Netherlands and Germany; the latter has expressed interest in selling off vaccines even though its full order of 50 million doses will not be delivered until March.