FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Contact: HHS Press Office
Statement by Mike Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services, On the Grants Awarded by the World Health Organization to Increase Global Manufacturing Capacity to Produce Influenza Vaccine
The World Health Organization (WHO) has taken an important step forward in the global effort to prepare for an influenza pandemic by awarding up to $15 million in grants to six nations to support the establishment or expansion of domestic manufacturing capacity for influenza vaccine. Once this production capacity is in place, these countries will be able to make seasonal influenza vaccine domestically under the standards of good manufacturing practices, to protect their populations. Some could be in a position also to export vaccine to their neighbors. Most importantly, should an influenza pandemic emerge, they will have the infrastructure in place to convert their production lines to manufacturing pandemic vaccine.
I am proud the United States, through my Department, was able to contribute $10 million to support this funding.
The current global manufacturing capacity for influenza vaccine is far short of the capacity needed to protect the world's six billion people in the event of an influenza pandemic. In the United States, we have been making significant investments in vaccine research and development and in expanding influenza vaccine production surge capacity, including $1.3 billion in cell-based vaccine and antigen-sparing influenza advanced development efforts. These investments will likely benefit not only citizens of the United States, but also citizens of the world.But responding to a pandemic will demand the cooperation of the world community. No nation can go it alone. I commend WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan for her continued leadership in guiding these efforts, but all of us need to do much more as global partners to ensure we are better prepared tomorrow than we are today.
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Last revised: January 20, 2009