The director of health says investors should be encouraged to produce vaccines in Hong Kong to combat a flu pandemic. Lam Ping-yan said, at present, vaccine manufacturers would be able to produce only 5 per cent of global requirements, which would mainly supply the west. 'When there is a pandemic, I think we cannot expect vaccination to become available [in Hong Kong]. I think it is important that we encourage investment in the production of such drugs,' Dr Lam told the health services panel yesterday. 'We need to make a decision.' The government yesterday presented details of its plan to cope with flu outbreaks, which centres on a three-tier alert system to protect the city. The World Health Organisation has said that avian flu H5N1 could be the source of the next flu pandemic, if it develops the ability to easily infect humans. Up to 7 million worldwide would die. Aventis-Pasteur and Chiron are due to start human testing of a vaccine against bird flu H5N1 as early as this month, the WHO said. Hong Kong uses a million doses of the flu vaccine for its yearly flu vaccination programme.