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Progress Is Slow on Moving Surplus Swine Flu Vaccine to Countries That Need It

There is now so much unused swine flu vaccine in the world that rich nations, including the United States, are trying to get rid of their surpluses. But the world’s poorest countries — a few still facing the brunt of the pandemic — are receiving very little of it.

Of the 95 countries that told the World Health Organization last year that they had no means of getting flu vaccine, only two, Azerbaijan and Mongolia, have received any so far. Afghanistan is expected to be next.

Early last month, W.H.O. officials said they hoped to have shipped vaccine to 14 countries by now, and even then it would have been only enough to protect 2 percent of the countries’ populations.

While the flu has waned in North America, it is still affecting North Africa, Central Asia and parts of Eastern Europe. This imbalance between rich and poor countries, and the inefficiency of global vaccine transfers, frustrate many experts.
 
 

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