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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » November 18, 2009
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Gov't Defends Stance on Swine Flu
November 18, 2009   
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Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Nov. 6 that Poland will not buy swine flu vaccine unless it is properly tested. "We are dealing with great pressure from pharmaceutical companies to buy the vaccine against A/H1N1 influenza," said Tusk, who added the Health Ministry is examining the safety of the vaccine. Tusk said drug companies do not want the vaccine to be available freely on the market, and want the governments that order the vaccine to take responsibility for its possible side effects.

Tusk said the testing period for the vaccine had been very short. "The eagerness of some countries seems to be excessive and disproportionate to the real epidemiological situation," he said.

Earlier in the parliament, opposition deputies sharply criticized the government for its failure so far to buy the vaccine, in contrast to many other EU countries. Health Minister Ewa Kopacz, who reported to parliament about the flu epidemic, said that although the European Commission has approved three swine flu vaccines supplied by different firms, she believed the clinical trials on them had not been sufficient. She also appealed to companies producing the vaccines to allow their sale on the free market and to take responsibility for any side effects.

Meanwhile, seven more swine flu cases were confirmed in Poland Nov. 10, bringing the total number in the country to 220. As part of efforts aimed at controlling the outbreak, schools are required to report to the Chief Sanitary Inspector if more than 20 percent of their students are absent from school due to illness. Schools, working in conjunction with education offices, are to report to the inspector once a week, on Mondays.
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