SINGAPORE is stepping up its defences against a possible bird flu pandemic with the purchase of enough vaccines for 1.3 million people.

Vaccines give the best protection against the flu, but the one for H5N1 or bird flu became available only in 2007.

The original defence against a bird flu pandemic was to give the more than 50,000 'essential' people, such as doctors and policemen, six weeks' supply of Tamiflu, an antiviral that reduces the effects of the illness by preventing the bug from multiplying.

Read the full report in Tuesday's edition of The Straits Times.

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