Canada to bridge Mexico's H1N1 flu vaccine requirements

OTTAWA — Canada’s health minister has announced the country will provide 5 million doses of H1N1 flu vaccine to Mexico to help bridge that country’s immediate pandemic vaccine requirements.

This is not a donation, Leona Aglukkaq said Jan. 6. Mexico will replenish Canada’s H1N1 vaccine supply by March 31. 

"We are privileged that we are in a position to support Mexico’s pandemic response efforts," Aglukkaq said. "The immediate response to Mexico’s request by Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments serves as testimony to the special relationship that exists between Canada and Mexico."

The government of Mexico has placed orders for H1N1 flu vaccine with several manufacturers; however, the bulk of Mexico’s order will only be available at the end of January.

Accordingly, the Mexican government has requested Canada provide 5 million doses of H1N1 flu vaccine that GSK Canada is currently holding for provinces and territories. Initial shipments of the H1N1 flu vaccine to Mexico from Canada will begin during the first week of January. 

Provincial and territorial governments unanimously agreed to the request. Canada already has distributed and has stockpiled enough vaccine in Canada to meet its immediate and ongoing needs, as well as to accommodate Mexico’s request.

"The Public Health Agency of Canada has worked with Mexico since the beginning of the H1N1 outbreak, when our National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg played a key role in identifying the novel H1N1 flu virus," said Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada’s chief public health officer. "Canada’s provinces and territories have been instrumental in facilitating a quick response to Mexico’s request."