Sri Lanka seeks H1N1 vaccine

The government of Sri Lanka has recently called for 500,000 units of the influenza A/H1N1 vaccine from the World Health Organization.

An official from the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health told the state-owned Sinhala daily The Dinamina that the government is in talks with the WHO and several developing countries about how to obtain the vaccine free of charge.

So far, Sri Lanka has been the recipient of 2.5 million doses of influenza A/H1N1 vaccine from WHO grants, according to

Pregnant women and people sick with chronic diseases of the cardiovascular system, renal problems and diabetes are being urged to take the vaccine. It is being made available in main hospitals by the divisions of the Medical Officer of Health.

As of December 26, the epidemiology unit of the health ministry has reported the existence of 400 cases and 23 deaths related to influenza A/H1N1, reports.

In 2009, the WHO declared the H1N1 influenza a pandemic. The virus is thought to have caused 17,000 deaths by the start of 2010. In August 2010, the WHO declared the pandemic over and said that worldwide influenza activity had returned to its regular seasonal pattern. Influenza A/H1N1 is often referred to as swine flu because of its origins.