Swine flu threat continues as Germans opt out of vaccine
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s centre for disease control and prevention, on Monday warned Germans hesitant to get immunised that the swine flu epidemic is not finished yet.
RKI President Jörg Hacker told broadcaster ARD on Monday that while the peak of infections may have been reached, there could be another wave of illness this spring.
He recommended everyone in Germany should still get an A/H1N1 vaccination.
Only about six percent of those living in the country have gotten the vaccination, according to daily Westfalen Blatt on Monday.
Since late November, some 9.6 million doses have been delivered to healthcare facilities around the country – but only 4 to 5.8 million have been used. Meanwhile the complete delivery of some 50 million doses is planned to be completed by late March. At a total cost to German states and health insurers of some €600 million, the state of Thuringia’s Healthy Ministry official Hartmut Schubert told the paper that Germany should give its extra vaccinations to developing nations.
He also suggested selling the Pandemrix vaccine to ease the costs to states, Schubert told the paper. There has been some discussion of sending the extra doses, produced by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, to Ukraine and other eastern European countries over the holidays, he said.