Source AP ©

Swedish government sets aside US$145 million to prepare for flu pandemic

The Swedish government has set aside 1 billion kronor (EUR108 million; US$145 million) to prepre the Nordic  for a possible flu pandemic.

The money will be portioned out over three years starting in 2008 and will be used to ensure the country's vaccine supply, said Henrik Kjellberg, a political adviser at the Health and Social Affairs Ministry.

"We're currently studying the options on how to build up the product capacity; whether we should build our own, supply it through Nordic cooperation or make sure the access (to vaccines) from other sources is good," Kjellberg said.

Ragnar Norrby, Director General at the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, said he was positive towards the plan.

"I think virtually everyone is in agreement that it is good to have a domestic production. Almost all countries have embargo laws where domestically produced vaccines are reserved for their own citizens."

The government's proposal needs lawmakers' approval.