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60 million need flu vaccine, says EU chief: report

world Updated: Jul 19, 2009 00:42 IST

Sixty million people will need priority vaccination against swine flu across the European Union, Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou was reported to have said on Saturday.

The commissioner was speaking to Portuguese news agency Lusa after visiting a health centre outside the town of Estoril as part of a tour of member states within the 27-member bloc.

She said the numbers needing jabs in groups most at risk had been estimated at 60 million by the EU's executive arm, but warned: "there won't be vaccinations for everyone."

There are about 500 million people living in the European Union, according to 2008 Commission figures.

Many EU countries have pre-bought stocks of vaccines in development ahead of an October meeting of EU health ministers in Brussels to decide on how thevaccination programme will work in practice.

In the last table released by the World Health Organisation on July 6, the UN agency had recorded 94,512 laboratory-confirmed cases in 136 countries and territories since April, including 429 deaths.

The WHO said yesterday it would stop giving figures on the numbers infected by the A(H1N1) virus to allow countries to channel resources into close monitoring of unexpected developments and patterns in the spread of the disease.