Czech Republic will not buy flu vaccine without license
The Czech health authorities on Thursday announced that after carefully assessing the risks presented by a possible swine flu epidemic, they would await the outcome of clinical tests before acquiring a flu vaccine for the country’s high risk groups. While many specialists approve, some are calling the decision irresponsible.
“It has been decided that the Czech Republic will wait for vaccine with a European registration, which provides a guarantee of safety and minimal side-effects.”
“I’d say that the ministry is acting in the usual Schweik-like manner, much as the Czechs ran the EU presidency. They first assured us production capacities had been reserved, now it seems they haven’t. Baxter’s not taking any more orders for this year and even though the ministry has promised to sign contracts with Novartis and GlaxoSmith Cline it is not clear when the vaccines will available, or whether chronically ill patients will get them in the first wave of vaccinations. We intend to put more pressure on the ministry, to get some answers and let them know that patients care.”
The ministry, for its part, has advised Czechs not to panic, since the number of cases in the Czech Republic is still comparatively low. Billboards have appeared in Prague instructing people to take basic precautions and make sure they get a regular flu shot in the autumn, which the authorities claim should mitigate the effects of a possible bout of the swine flu. Asked what would happen in the event of a crisis, the country’s chief hygiene officer said that measures would be taken “on the go” as circumstances require.