WHO tries to calm H1N1 vaccine fears

A vaccine against H1N1 flu should be effective even if the virus mutates, according to the World Health Organisation.

The WHO wants to reassure those who have their doubts about the vaccine, which is expected to be available this month or next.

euronews spoke to Marc Van Ranst, the lead virologist in Belgium’s response to flu pandemics. He was optimistic that a vaccine would work.

He said: “This virus seems to be pretty stable which indeed means that the vaccines that are being prepared will be efficatious to work on the viruses that are circulating, so this is good news but not completely unexpected.”

Many people are worried there won’t be enough vaccines to go round. The WHO admits there won’t, but Van Ranst believes not everybody will need to be vaccinated.

“I think there is an obligation to prepare for something that could have been worse or that with a small percentage chance still might become worse,” he said. “But when we face the fact now that this has the mortality of a normal influenza season then we also have to adapt our actions so we are not giving anti virals to everybody who has the flu. We will not vaccinate the whole population.”

The priority will be to vaccinate health workers, pregnant women, the young and the elderly.

The WHO says other precautionary measures should be enough to beat the bug.


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