WASHINGTON (CNN) – Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Sunday that the federal government is doing everything it can to be ready for the traditional flu season this fall and winter, now that the H1N1 swine flu virus has become a global public health concern.
“We are certainly making every effort to be totally prepared,” Sebelius said on CNN’s State of the Union, adding that the production of a swine flu vaccine could begin as early as the end of the summer if a vaccination program is ultimately recommended.
“The good news is it still seems like not such a lethal virus,” Sebelius added. “But we are fully prepared . . . . Preparation is very much under way for what may happen this fall.”
Late last week, the World Health Organization raised its swine flu alert level to 6 – the highest level on WHO’s scale. It signifies the existence of a global pandemic – from the point of view of geographic spread rather than the sheer number of cases.