For Sale: 19 Million Doses of Pandemic Vaccine, as Good as New

AMSTERDAM—The Netherlands is selling the bulk of its H1N1 pandemic vaccine supply. Some 19 million doses of the 34 million doses that the government has ordered from manufacturers Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline are now for sale, Health Minister Ab Klink wrote yesterday in a letter to Parliament. Some 2 million of them will be available in December, the remainder in the first months of 2010. Malta and Macedonia have been reported to be among the potential buyers.

The Netherlands is one of the few countries that decided early on in the pandemic to order two doses of vaccine for each of its citizens. But like most countries, it ended up only vaccinating certain groups, such as pregnant women, people with medical conditions that put them at greater risk, health care workers, the elderly, and children aged between 6 months and 4 years. Even if the sale goes through, the Netherlands will still keep a strategic stockpile of 2.2 million vaccines.