updated 1/6/2010 3:26:15 PM ET 2010-01-06T20:26:15

Canada is lending Mexico 5 million doses of the swine flu vaccine.

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Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said in a statement Wednesday that Mexico requested the doses to help bridge that country's immediate pandemic vaccine requirements.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says Mexico placed orders with several manufacturers, but the bulk of Mexico's order will only be available at the end of the month.

The agency says Canada's assistance is not a donation. They say Mexico will replenish Canada's supply by March 31.

Canada's shipments will begin this week.

Canada has a large surplus after buying just over 50 million doses of vaccine in August, when it seemed likely each person would need two doses of vaccine.

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