Baltics face AH1N1 vaccine shortages

  • 2009-11-10
  • Oskars Magone

Estonia and Latvia are struggling to secure the vaccine

TALLINN - Estonia and Latvia have reported sharp shortages of vaccine for the AH1N1 virus, otherwise known as swine flu.

The news of the shortages comes just one day after Latvia reported the first AH1N1 death in the Baltics. The victim had checked into Riga Stradina University hospital last week after reportedly contracting the disease on a trip to Kaliningrad.

The Estonian Medical Association has expressed concern that Estonia still has not completed negotiations with manufacturers to order the vaccine, despite approximately 130 cases of the disease having been registered in the country. 

The association reportedly sent Estonian Social Affairs Minister Hanno Pevkur a letter over the weekend saying that the failure to order vaccine shows incompetence.

In his own defense, the minister said the government had been working on securing a vaccine since the initial outbreak.

"It is not as if the government has just now started to plan thevaccination. The work in the monitoring committee is going on all thetime," the Estonian Free Press reported Pevkur as saying.

Latvia, meanwhile, is suffering similar shortages.

A group of pharmaceutical companies and drug wholesalers informed reporters after a meeting with Health Ministry representatives on Nov. 10 that they had run out of the medication.

The Health Ministry said, however, that hosptals and clinics still had enough of the vaccine to treat patients.

According to the Latvian Infectology Center, the country registered more than 20 new cases of AH1N1 on Monday. The total number of cases in the country is now approximately 110.