OTTAWA, July 17 (UPI) -- Canada's chief medical officer says the country is uniquely poised to have a surplus of H1N1 flu vaccines by the fall because of years of planning.
In an interview with the Globe and Mail in Ottawa, Dr. David Butler-Jones said deals struck with drug companies ensure the vaccines will be manufactured in Canada and a surplus was expected.
"Three or four years ago, we could fill about eight million doses a month," he told the newspaper. "Now it's up closer to 14 million. So, within a couple of months, we have enough vaccine essentially for everybody living in Canada to get at least one dose, which would probably be sufficient for most of us."
In 2006, the federal government allocated $1 billion toward pandemic planning and emergency preparedness to back up a 2001 contract with drug companies to ensure a vaccine for every Canadian in the event of a pandemic, the report said.
However, the World Health Organization announced earlier this month drug companies were experiencing unanticipated delays in growing the vaccine culture in chicken eggs, and cautioned supplies would be delayed.
The GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical company told the Globe the first H1N1 vaccines should be available in three to four months, subject to regulatory approval.