The World Health Organisation has challenged Government claims that a swine flu vaccine will be available to the public by next month.
Dr Margaret Chan, WHO director general, said: ‘There’s no vaccine. One should be available soon, in August. But having a vaccine available is not the same as having a vaccine that has been proven safe.’
She added that it would be ‘another two to three months’ before clinical trial data would be available.
Her comments came alongside a claim from Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer for England, that it was ‘too early to say’ whether a death rate of one in 200 - as some experts suggested - was accurate.
Dr Chan also questioned Health Secretary Andy Burnham’s comments that the first stocks of swine flu vaccine may arrive next month.
Britain is at the ‘front of the queue’ for supplies of the swine flu vaccine, said Mr Burnham, adding the country would start to receive the first in August.
He said: ‘We have made very good plans in this country for this eventuality, for being in this situation, and Britain is at the front of the queue in the world for vaccine.’