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Smallpox vaccine stocks to be re-built

Nursing Times

Work has started on building a 200 million-dose stockpile of smallpox vaccine in the wake of fears of a bioterror attack, World Health Organisation (WHO) officials said today.

The Group of Seven (G7) industrialised nations agreed last month to set up a global 'vaccine bank' in case of attack by terrorists.

The WHO will double its emergency reserve of smallpox vaccines to 5 million doses, while individual member countries will assemble the rest.

"It is clear that we will have some stocks in a few months, but it would take two to three years to set up the whole stockpile," Daniel Lavanchy, smallpox project leader at the WHO's alert and response office, told Reuters.

Health ministers from the G7 - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States - also agreed last month to set up a bioterrorism crisis centre to marshal a global response to germ warfare attacks.