UK ministers likely to offload unwanted swine flu vaccines

Following official predictions that there will be no third wave of pandemic this winter, UK minister

The ministers have signed contracts for around £100m to deliver 90m vaccines to Britain. But the number of people contracting swine flu is falling. Britain has now received almost 29m doses of the H1N1 vaccine, but only just over 3.7m have been administered, by inocculation.

Officials are looking at various options to sell or give off the medicines. They are considering exercising a break clause in the contract with Baxter, which supplies one of two vaccines used in the National Health Service (NHS). The government is currently in discussions with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), though there is no such clause with the company.

They are also considering temporarily standing down the National Pandemic Flu Service, a network of call centres which diagnose swine flu and distribute antiviral medications.

A number of other countries, including France and Germany, have already announced plans to sell their surplus vaccines.