Glaxo reduces Germany's H1N1 vaccine shipment by $193 million

LONDON — GlaxoSmithKline Plc agreed to reduce Germany’s order of Pandemrix H1N1 flu vaccine by $193 million on Jan. 12 after health officials decided they need fewer doses, the country’s Health Ministry said.

Germany cut its order to 34 million doses from 50 million doses during negotiations with Glaxo, the ministry said in an e- mailed statement. The revised order is worth $410.7 million, ministry spokesman Thomas Spieker said.

European governments are cutting orders, and may donate or sell unused vaccines, after medical authorities in November supported a one-dose regimen rather than the two doses recommended as a guideline for government purchases. Safety concerns and lower-than-expected death rates from the virus, also known as H1N1, also damped demand for shots.

“We have to accept the aversion to vaccination by many people in Germany,” Mechtild Ross-Luttmann, Lower Saxony’s health minister, was cited as saying in the statement. “We still have enough vaccine to protect the population against a second wave of the flu.”

Germany had said it wants to reduce its order by half.

Glaxo is also in discussion with other governments about reducing H1N1 vaccine supplies, including Britain, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium, a spokeswoman said.

Several countries have started to cut orders for flu vaccines because the pandemic has not turned out to be as deadly as originally feared and adults need only one dose, not two, to be fully protected.

Original orders for flu vaccine were placed in May, June and July, when it was not known what dose would be needed and it was not clear how severe the pandemic would be.

"Pandemics by their nature are unpredictable and we recognize that governments' needs are changing. We are committed to finding solutions for governments changing their immunization programs and to fulfilling recent new orders," said Jean Stephenne, Glaxo's director of vaccines program.