The Dutch government has decided to buy 34 million pandemic vaccines against the H1N1 flu virus, sufficient for two doses per person, and entered into contracts with vaccine producers this week.
The government said it had agreed with contracted producers the vaccine must be available by the end of 2009. "The Health Council has advised to buy vaccines for the entire Dutch population, including the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba," the Health Ministry said in a statement. The population of the Netherlands is roughly 16 million.
The council advised the government to give each person two doses of the vaccine because one dose was not considered sufficient.
Prior to the World Health Organisation declaring an influenza pandemic last week, the government already had an option for the supply of the vaccine with Belgian company Solvay , but it was not clear whether that option had now been converted into this order.
Other leading flu vaccine makers include Sanofi-Aventis, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis. There have been 87 people infected with the H1N1 virus in the Netherlands. There have been no deaths, but one patient is in intensive care.