WASHINGTON — The United States, France and Britain are among nine countries that pledged Thursday to make 10 percent of their swine flu vaccine supply available to other nations that may need it.
In recognition of the global nature of the pandemic, the United States is taking this action along with Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, and Britain, the White House said in a statement.
The A(H1N1) vaccine will be made available through the World Health Organization (WHO), said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
In Paris, President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said that France will donate nine million swine flu vaccine doses -- 10 percent of its entire stock of 94 million doses of vaccines -- to the WHO.
British International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander announced a similar donation.
The move is made "in recognition that diseases know no borders and that the health of the American people is inseparable from the health of people around the world," read the White House statement.
Swine flu cases are expected to increase as the northern hemisphere enters the fall season.
"We remain confident that the United States will have sufficient doses of the vaccine to ensure that every American who wants a vaccine is able to receive one," the White House said.
In Paris, the Elysee palace said that international solidarity "will be a determining factor in reducing the health, economic and social impact of the pandemic."
Britain "recognizes that H1N1 is a global pandemic which requires a global response," Alexander said in London.
"Solidarity with other nations is vital, particularly the poorest who may be most vulnerable and have least capacity to respond," he added.
His comments came as official figures showed a steep rise in new swine flu cases in England.
An estimated 5,000 new cases were reported last week, spurring the first uptick in cases since July.
Scotland also reported a "marked increase" in the number of people going to see their doctors with suspected swine flu.
In Canada, a medical journal reported the first pandemic swine flu outbreak of Canada's autumn flu season among remote aboriginal communities on Vancouver Island in the country's west.
Worldwide, at least 3,205 people have died of the virus since it was uncovered in Mexico in April, according to the WHO.
US drug regulators approved a single-dose swine flu vaccine on Tuesday, which will be produced by four US manufacturers.
The US government has purchased 195 million doses of swine flu vaccine and will make shots against the influenza A(H1N1) virus available free of charge starting next month, Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, though providers might charge a fee to administer them.
Vaccination in the United States will be on a voluntary basis, with priority given to groups deemed to be especially at risk from the swine flu virus.
High risk groups include pregnant women, people in contact with infants, medical personnel, people aged six months to 24 years, and adults under the age of 65 with underlying medical conditions.
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