Canada's Sole H1N1 Flu Vaccine Provider is Exporting Materials Despite Canada's Shortage of Vaccines

OTTAWA, Nov. 4 (UPI) — The sole pharmaceutical supplier of H1N1 flu vaccine for Canada that’s behind in deliveries is exporting source material, the Globe and Mail reported Wednesday.

GlaxoSmithKline, which so far has shipped seven million of the 50 million vials of the vaccine ordered by the Canadian government, told the newspaper it had a surplus of the raw antigen and was exporting it to other countries it wouldn’t identify.

“Canada does not need the antigen that is being exported,” GSK spokeswoman Megan Spoore told the Globe in an e-mail.

The country’s largest-ever inoculation program was curtailed days ago when the company announced production delays because of the need to produce an alternate version of the vaccine for pregnant women. The company said last week it would ship 436,000 doses to provinces and territories this week from its plant in Quebec, about one-fifth of the original plan, the Globe said.

Meanwhile, federal health officials said the death toll from the H1N1 virus, originally dubbed swine flu when it emerged in Mexico in April, had reached 101, the Canwest News Service reported.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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