HHS awards H5N1 contracts

The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a total of $199.45 million to three vaccine makers in order to stockpile 5.3 million additional doses of H5N1 vaccine. The bulk of the money--$117.9 million--has been awarded to Sanofi Pasteur for 3.7 million doses of the drug. Novartis has received $40.95 million for 800,000 doses and GSK also garnered $40.6 million for 800,000 doses. "These newest vaccine purchases supplement the existing stockpile of 5.9 million doses of H5N1 vaccine and build on the department's plans to buy enough vaccine for 20 million people," HHS stated in a press release. At two 90-microgram doses per person, HHS says these purchases provide enough courses to vaccinate nearly 2.7 million people. Initial studies of these vaccines show that they may protect against the bird flu, but the HHS noted that further testing is underway to fully determine their effect.

- see the HHS press release

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