President Barack Obama says the United States will share 10 percent of its swine flu vaccine supply with other nations to help fight the deadly virus' global spread.
The White House on Thursday announced that flu vaccines to counter the virus known among scientists as H1N1 would be available through the World Health Organization. The U.S. is working with Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom to share vaccines.
Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York that the announcement "is one that has real relevance to the work of the United Nations and to our shared interest in promoting and sustaining global health."
"As the World Health Organization has reported, the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus has continued to spread globally since April, causing outbreaks around the world. The speed and the scale of our global response will help minimize the overall impact of the pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza and ensure our collective and common security in our increasingly interdependent world," Rice said.
She repeated Obama's announcement that the U.S. was joining the other countries "on collective action aimed at saving lives and minimizing economic and social dislocations that may be caused by the 2009 H1N1 influenza around the world."
"As vaccine supplies emerge, they will be made available to the WHO on a rolling basis to assist countries that will not otherwise have direct access to the vaccine," Rice said.
"We invite and encourage other nations to join in this urgent global health effort, donating vaccine, money and/or technical assistance in an international effort to save lives around the world," she said.