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FDA suggests stockpiling avian flu vaccine

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There have been 160 cases of bird flu worldwide and experts on the avian flu say it's not a question of if there will be a pandemic, but when.

Wednesday the US Food and Drug Administration panel recommended stockpiling the bird flu vaccine. The panel of health advisors voted today to call the vaccine safe and effective. The bird flu has a 50 percent mortality rate. Those who suffer from the flu end up drowning in their own fluids internally. The bird flu does not spread person to person yet, but doctors say the vaccine could help prevent a pandemic.

Deputy health director Scott Harrelson said, "In the case of the threat if it went person to person transmission for the bird flu then we would have something available to give the general population."

The vaccine is only 45 percent effective, but the FDA says that in the event of a pandemic event that's better than nothing. The government has a strategic national stockpile plan. The bird flu vaccine would be used in an emergency situation such as the flu being spread from person to person.

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