U.S. stockpiles more bird-flu vaccine from 3 firms

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The Department of Health and Human Services is buying $199.45 million more worth of vaccines designed to protect against the H5N1 avian flu virus. HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said the government awarded three contracts: a $117.9 million contract to Sanofi Pasteur for 3.7 million doses, a $40.95 million contract to Novartis for 800,000 doses and a $40.6 million to GlaxoSmithKline for 800,000 doses. The vaccines represent enough doses for nearly 2.7 million people. The purchases supplement the existing national stockpile of 5.9 million doses of H5N1 vaccine and build on the department’s plans to buy enough vaccine for 20 million people, HHS said in a statement.

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