HHS: Most H5N1 vaccine on hand is still potent

first_imgNov 17, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – A Department of Health and Human Services official said today that loss of potency is affecting less than 20% of H5N1 avian influenza vaccine doses in the national stockpile, not a majority of doses as reported here yesterday.Bill Hall, an HHS spokesman in Washington, DC, said the agency has acquired a total of about 7.5 million doses of H5N1 vaccine to date, and about 200,000 of those have been used for research.About 1.4 million doses have begun to lose potency, Hall said. “That leaves about 5.9 million doses that are mostly in bulk, with some in vials, that still have potency,” he said. “That would treat about 3 million people.”Hall gave the numbers in response to the report here yesterday in which he was quoted as saying that a majority of vaccine doses in the stockpile had begun to lose potency. He said his comments were mischaracterized.HHS has been stockpiling H5N1 vaccine in preparation for the threat of an influenza pandemic sparked by the avian flu virus. In a Nov 13 pandemic planning update, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said the agency had enough vaccine on hand for about 3 million people. A previous update in July said the stockpile contained enough vaccine for about 4 million people.Hall cited the loss of potency in some of the vaccine as the main reason for the decrease in the number of people who could be immunized.Most of the vaccine was made by Sanofi Pasteur, but HHS also has bought some from Chiron Corp., Hall said today.He reiterated today that all vaccines and other biologic products have a limited shelf life. “The expected shelf life of seasonal flu vaccine is probably about a year,” so the fact that most of the stockpile is still good after about 2 years “is probably a good thing,” he said.Hall added that HHS-sponsored research now under way, particularly on the use of adjuvants (immune-boosting substances), may help to stretch the vaccine supply.See also:Nov 13 HHS pandemic planning updatehttp://www.flu.gov/professional/pdf/panflureport3.pdflast_img read more

Government to offer $62.3b in bonds in H2 to finance coronavirus fight

first_imgIndonesia is preparing to offer Rp 900.4 trillion (US$62.35 billion) worth of sovereign debt papers (SBN) in the second half of the year as debt financing swells significantly to fund the country’s coronavirus response.The government had raised Rp 630.5 trillion worth of SBN as of June this year, including $4.3 billion from a three-tranche United States dollar denominated bond in April and $2.5 billion from a three-tranche global sukuk (sharia-compliant bond) last month, according to the Finance Ministry’s financing strategy and portfolio director, Riko Amir.“The market will not be able to absorb all of the Rp 900.4 trillion worth of bonds and therefore there will be a burden sharing scheme between the government and Bank Indonesia,” Riko said in a discussion on Thursday. The government, he went on to say, was still in negotiations with the central bank on the details of the scheme. The central bank and the government are set to sign an agreement on a bond sale program worth Rp 574 trillion at zero interest or below the market rate of 7 percent, which will be the largest debt monetization program among developing economies.Read also: Indonesia raises $930m in samurai bonds to fund pandemic responseUnder the agreement, Bank Indonesia (BI) will buy Rp 397.6 trillion worth of bonds with zero yields for healthcare and social safety net programs, among other things.The central bank will also purchase Rp 123.4 trillion worth of bonds with a 3.25 percent yield to fund relief programs for small and medium businesses as well as Rp 53.57 trillion worth of bonds to rescue big businesses with a 4.25 percent interest rate, the current benchmark rate. “BI is ready to share the burden not only in the financing efforts but also those related to the debts,” BI Governor Perry Warjiyo told lawmakers on Monday, adding that the scheme would ease the government’s burden for paying higher interest rates as a result of the widening deficit.The central bank has already been buying government bonds in auctions, although in small portions, to help finance the government’s spending. BI has so far bought Rp 30.33 trillion in government bonds directly at auctions and bought another Rp 166.2 trillion of bonds in the secondary market to help stabilize the country’s currency.Under an emergency law issued by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak’s economic impacts, BI is allowed to buy government bonds directly at auctions. Previously, the central bank could only buy the debt papers on the secondary market.The government is facing the daunting task of borrowing Rp 1.53 quadrillion this year to fund the budget deficit, which is expected to reach 6.34 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), as well to finance investments and repay its debts.Read also: Administrative issues hamper COVID-19 budget disbursement: Sri MulyaniThis is an increase from a previous borrowing needs projection of Rp 1.4 quadrillion announced by the government in April, as it has now allocated Rp 695.2 trillion budget to strengthen the healthcare system and bolster the economy amid the pandemic.According to the ministry’s presentation materials, the borrowing needs will increase the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio to around 37.64 to 38.5 percent by the end of year from around 30 percent in 2019.“We will maintain the debt ratio within the safe limit of below 60 percent of GDP and we will be prudent in managing the debts while also supporting the countercyclical policies,” said Riko.The coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the country’s economy as the government now expects a full year growth of only 1 percent under a baseline scenario or a 0.4 percent contraction under a worst-case scenario.Topics :last_img read more