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Armed Forces: Influenza

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 3 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what proportion of the stockpile of A/H5N1 vaccine for use in the event of an influenza pandemic has been allocated for vaccination of (a) healthcare workers and (b) the armed forces; and if he will make a statement; (195255)

(2) for what reason his Department bid for a stockpile size of 54,000 courses of A/H5N1 vaccine, as referred to in paragraph 8 of the Defence Medical Services Department’s policy letter of 20 January 2006, entitled “The use of influenza vaccines and anti-virals in the event of an influenza pandemic” by the Defence Medical Services, reference DMSD/13/1/4; and if he will make a statement.

The Department's stockpile was calculated on the need to have sufficient courses to vaccinate those personnel engaged on, or preparing for, deployed operations and other essential tasks, plus a specific allocation for Defence Medical Services (DMS) healthcare personnel. Around 10 per cent. has been allocated for vaccination of DMS personnel, and the remaining 90 per cent. for other members of the armed forces.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 7 January 2008, Official Report, column 24W, what quantity of anti-virals is held at Permanent Joint Headquarters; and if he will make a statement. (195260)

Around 17,500 courses of influenza anti-virals earmarked for future operational demands are held by the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency (DSDA) on behalf of the Defence Equipment and Support. PJHQ will authorise distribution of the appropriate quantities to operational theatres as required.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions his Department has had with NATO in the last 12 months on the creation of a joint stockpile of (a) pharmaceutical and (b) other clinical countermeasures to support the continuity of operations in Afghanistan in the event of an influenza pandemic; and if he will make a statement. (195311)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 18 December 2007, Official Report, columns 1447-48W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many treatment courses of anti-virals are held at (a) role 2 and (b) role 3 medical units, as stated in paragraph 14 of the Defence Medical Services Department’s policy letter of 20 January 2006, entitled The use of influenza vaccines and anti-virals in the event of an influenza pandemic by the Defence Medical Services, reference DMSD/13/1/4; and if he will make a statement. (195348)

In accordance with Defence Medical Services guidance, 10 anti-viral courses are held in Role 2(Enhanced) field hospitals overseas; five courses in the unit at Basra in Iraq and five in the one at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. The majority of MOD’s anti-viral stocks are held by the Defence Equipment and Support in the UK, from whence they can be transported at short notice to any overseas location as required.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many courses of anti-virals are now pre-positioned in Permanent joint overseas bases, as stated in paragraph 14 of the Defence Medical Services Department's policy letter of 20 January 2006, entitled The use of influenza vaccines and anti-virals in the event of an influenza pandemic by the Defence Medical Services, reference DMSD/13/1/4; and if he will make a statement. (195351)

Around 15,850 Tamiflu anti-viral courses were distributed to MOD overseas bases by the end of January 2006. In addition, just over 1,900 paediatric Tamiflu courses were subsequently distributed to be given to younger children.