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Cablegate: H1n1 Update: 22,936 Cases; Concerns Over Vaccine

VZCZCXRO4218
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDF RUEHDH RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHMA RUEHPB
RUEHPOD RUEHSL RUEHTM RUEHTRO
DE RUEHRL #1304 2930608
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 200608Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5527
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BERLIN 001304


AMCONSUL FRANKFURT
DEPT OF AGRICULTURE USD FAS
DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
USMISSION GENEVA

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/CE PETER SCHROEDER
STATE FOR OES/IHB
STATE FOR AID/GH/HIDN
USDA PASS TO APHIS
HHS PASS TO CDC
HHS FOR OGHA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO KFLU ECON PREL SOCI CASC GM
SUBJECT: H1N1 Update: 22,936 Cases; Concerns over Vaccine
Program Mounting

REF: Berlin 1236 and previous

1. (U) SUMMARY: From October 7-13, the number of confirmed
H1N1 infections in Germany rose by 942 cases to a total of
22,936. As of October 12, Germany is reporting new H1N1 cases
on a weekly, rather than daily, basis. The Ministry of Health
(BMG) announced that the H1N1 vaccination program will begin
on October 26. However, controversy is growing over a
decision to vaccinate government officials, select civil
servants and the military with an additive-free version of the
H1N1 vaccine - not the vaccine that will be provided to the
German public. BMG has launched a new website to provide
information on H1N1 to the public. END SUMMARY

2. (U) On October 19, the National Reference Center for
Influenza at the Robert Koch Institute confirmed a total of
942 new (laboratory and non-laboratory) H1N1 cases in Germany
from October 7-13, increasing the total number of H1N1 cases
to 22,936. Nordrhein-Westfalen remains the German state with
the highest number of confirmed virus cases with a total of
6,183, followed by Bavaria (3,743) and Baden-Wuerttemberg
(3,364). On October 12, the National Reference Center for
Influenza at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced that it
will no longer provide daily updates on the H1N1 situation in
Germany. Updates will instead be provided in a weekly report,
publicized on Mondays.


Vaccinations to Begin October 26
-------------------------------

3. (U) Germany's H1N1 flu vaccination program will begin on
October 26. Critics, however, continue to emphasize possible
side effects of the vaccine for pregnant women and children.
According to the Ministry of Health, a substitute vaccine for
pregnant women will be available at the end of November.


Growing Concern over "Second-Class Vaccine"
-------------------------------------------

4. (U) Controversy is mounting over Germany's H1N1 vaccination
program. Several press articles have reported that the German
military, as well as Chancellor Merkel, her cabinet members,
and civil servants responsible for the maintenance of public
order will receive vaccine produced by the U.S. firm Baxter.
This vaccine does not contain the controversial additive
adjuvant or a preservative containing mercury, both of which
are present in the vaccine that will be given to the general
public. According to the press, a spokesperson for the German
Interior Ministry said that the vaccines for the government
were ordered months ago, when there were no clear differences
between the two vaccines. She added that the version for the
public was not a second-class vaccine.


Public Outreach Enhanced
------------------------

5. (U) On October 15, the German Health Ministry (BMG)
launched a new online platform to answer H1N1-related
questions. The website, http://www.neuegrippe.bund.de,
provides general information on H1N1 in 11 languages, as well
as links to Germany's state health officials in charge of
implementing the vaccination program. In an October 14
meeting, a BMG official reported that 40 to 50 percent of the
German population is now willing to receive the H1N1 vaccine.


MURPHY

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