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Friday, December 8th, 2023

Bill enhances universal flu vaccine investment

Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) recently reintroduced a measure designed to bolster the financial support for a universal influenza vaccine protecting against multiple strains and offering longer protection.

The Flu Vaccine Act targets a total investment of $1 billion, detailing a breakdown of $200,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2020 through 2024 for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Markey and colleagues were able to secure a dedicated $100 million and $140 million for fiscal years 2018 and 2019, respectively, for universal flu vaccine research at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases within NIH.

“America’s scientists and clinicians are the heavy hitters in health and disease research and it is up to the United States to lead the world in improving and enhancing the response to the flu,” Markey said. “We must enhance our ability to predict the right strain for the next season, produce a more optimal vaccine, and protect all Americans against all strains of this virus.”

Markey said with increased research funding, dedicated health care providers and scientific investigators, the nation is closer than ever to ensuring a flu-free future.

“Every year, more than 200,000 Americans are hospitalized from the flu and flu-related complications,” DeLauro said. “The flu vaccine is our most critical line of defense against this epidemic, yet health officials are forced to predict what strains the annual flu vaccine should try to combat in any given flu season. The Flu Vaccine Act would fix this problem by investing in the creation of a universal flu vaccine.”