HELSINKI, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Finland said on Friday it would try to counter a possible human influenza pandemic sparked by bird flu by ordering pre-pandemic vaccines from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.N) worth 36.4 million euros ($53 million).
In 2006, Finland had ordered the vaccines for 5.2 million people from Solvay (SOLB.BR), but cancelled the deal last year because Solvay was unable to deliver them in the time frame Finland wanted, the National Public Health Institute said.
It said Solvay would still deliver the actual pandemic vaccines needed in case of an outbreak.
“There has been a tendering process and we made the decision on Thursday. Now we still need to sign the contract with Glaxo,” specialist researcher Rose-Marie Olander at the National Public Health Institute told Reuters.
To date, no cases of bird flu have been reported in Finland.
Finland has a population of 5.3 million, but vaccine programmes do not usually cover everyone because some people do not want to participate and babies younger than six months are excluded. (Reporting by Sami Torma; Editing by Caroline Drees)