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Australia orders 21 million swine flu vaccines

Australia ordered 21 million courses of swine flu vaccine on Tuesday, enough to cover the country's entire population, as the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned the pandemic was 'unstoppable'.

world Updated: Jul 14, 2009 13:28 IST

Australia ordered 21 million courses of swine flu vaccine on Tuesday, enough to cover the country's entire population, as the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned the pandemic was 'unstoppable'.

With Australia already the worst-hit nation in the Asia-Pacific region, federal chief medical officer Jim Bishop expressed concern that the "hard-edged" virus was now infecting young and healthy people.

He said Australia hoped to launch a major immunisation program in October to combat the progress of the virus, which
has hit more than 9,000 people and been linked to 19 deaths.

"We are seeing a few people now thrown up that have other medical conditions being unwell, (but) also we are seeing a
few people that were previously well but are severely affected by the disease," Bishop said.

"Almost all of those swine flu deaths have been in people with prior medical conditions which have been exacerbated but,
as I said, there will be now some experience with unfortunately people who have been previously well," he added.

Six people younger than 40 who had otherwise been healthy were on life support in Sydney, with A(H1N1) influenza
damaging their lungs so badly they were put on special machines to oxygenate their blood, officials said.

The WHO said on Monday a vaccine should be available as early as September, warning that the pandemic was now
"unstoppable," with more than 90,000 cases reported, including 429 deaths.