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WHO flu chief: No compromise on vaccine safety

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[July 24, 2009]  GENEVA (AP) -- The World Health Organization's flu chief says there must be no doubt over the safety of swine flu vaccines before they are given to the public.

Keiji Fukuda says health officials and drug makers are looking into ways of speeding up the production of the vaccine before the northern hemisphere enters its flu season in the fall.

But he told The Associated Press on Friday that "one of the things which cannot be compromised is the safety of vaccines."

Fukuda says the first vaccines should be available in September and October.

Other vaccines will take until December or January before they are released onto the market.


AP's earlier story is below.


GENEVA (AP) -- The World Health Organization's flu chief says the global swine flu pandemic is still in its early stages and reports of over 100,000 infections in England alone last week are plausible.

Keiji Fukuda says 2 billion infections over the course of the pandemic is "a reasonable ballpark to be looking at."

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He told The Associated Press on Friday that previous pandemics show even a few million cases could be "relatively early in the pandemic."

Fukuda says reports from Britain of a sharp spike in cases is consistent with WHO's expectations even though the Geneva-based agency has only received confirmed reports of some 130,000 infections worldwide.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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