July 19th, 2009
12:15 PM ET
5 years ago

H1N1 flu vaccine ready in October, Sebelius says

WASHINGTON (CNN) - An H1N1 flu vaccine should be ready in October if a strain now moving through the southern hemisphere heads north for the fall and winter, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Sunday.

Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," Sebelius said the vaccine still must undergo clinical trials to ensure it is both effective against the virus and safe for people.

"We're on track to have a vaccine ready by mid-October," she said.

The pandemic was first detected in Mexico earlier this year before moving to the United States, Europe and other nations in the northern hemisphere. The virus is now more prevalent in the southern hemisphere, where is it is winter.

Flu is typically more active and prevalent during the fall and winter.

The World Health Organization raised the worldwide pandemic alert level June 11 to phase 6, the highest designation. The most recent WHO figures, from early July, listed 170 flu fatalities in the United States, along with 119 in Mexico and 60 in Argentina.

However, the figures have risen since then. WHO stopped listing national totals after July 6 because, the organization said, "the increasing number of cases in many countries with sustained community transmission is making it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for countries to try and confirm them through laboratory testing."


Filed under: Kathleen Sebelius • Swine Flu
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. demwit

    I am totally confident in Kathleen Sebelius' ability to protect me and my family..

    July 19, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. cat

    As a scientist, I know that her statement is meaningless without having the clinical trial data in hand. Her comments are irresponsible.

    July 19, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. why say something once

    when you can run it, and run it again, and again

    CNN nothing like running the same stories over and over

    July 19, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  4. Big Al C.

    Why cover this problem? Michael Jackson still has not been buried. And he was loved world wide. Why is CNN trying to keep Michael Jackson's death out of the news? He was the greatest everything that has ever lived on the planet. And he owned a white glove.

    July 19, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  5. sol

    Are they going to run the clinical trials on real patients. I do not see any rush for the vaccine , for a drug which does not undergo intense clinical trials, the out come should be weighed with the consequence, had these been a treatment option , it is up to the patient and the doc. to decide.

    But are you going to vaccinate the whole population with drug which does not pass clinical trial. This must be the work of Big Pharmaceuticals to milk the public and government money. This must be stopped, how long are we going to live by fear so that they can milk us whenever they want money.

    July 19, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. Larry

    Do we need a vaccine for this flu? I've seen higher fatality rates in a normal flu season.

    July 19, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. Edwin

    @cat, how is it meaningless to say that we are "on track to have the vaccine ready by mid-October?" She is probably basing that estimate on years of data about past vaccines. I am a scientist, too, and I don't understand your comment.

    July 19, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. Ginger Taylor

    "Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," Sebelius said the vaccine still must undergo clinical trials to ensure it is both effective against the virus and safe for people."

    I listened in on the Friday swine flu teleconferenced meeting of the National Biodefense Science Board, who will be making the policy recommendations to the ACIP and Sebelius. Their plan is to put out the first tens of millions of doses BEFORE the safety testing is in.

    THEN they will go back and reformulate them according to data the gain during clinical trials.

    They want to make these doses available by 9/15 and are shooting for 9/1.

    ANYONE WHO GETS THE SWINE FLU SHOT IN SEPTEMBER OR OCTOBER WILL BE GETTING A COMPLETELY UNTESTED VACCINE.

    July 19, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. Keith in Austin

    Sebelius as much clinical credibility as Mr. Magoo. Let's all go blindly uninformed by putting our Family's Healthcare future under Obama's leadership and her stewardship. Please wake up America!

    July 19, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  10. But how many doses will you have????

    Pharma companies are saying they will not be able to produce enough vaccine for most Americans.....

    You and Obama have blown this and because you have failed us, Americans will be falling over in record numbers this winter.

    July 19, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  11. southerncousin

    Its kind of like the stimulus package. Way to much, way to late. These obamatrons are absolutely horrible. Since central planning is such a communist doctrine, you would think they would have it down pat, but then again, central planning didn't work for the communists and it sure won't for the stupd thugs running our government now. Libs have the gall to criticize Bush for Katrina, when it was the fault of the democratic and liberal governor and the democratic and liberal mayor of New Orleans.

    July 19, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. deetee

    Who will be the among the first to step right up and be the guinea pig to take the vaccine that they're rushing to manufacture?

    (This is all starting to sound so "I Am Legend.")

    July 19, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  13. Tatianna

    WASHINGTON (CNN) An H1N1 flu vaccine SHOULD be ready in October. KEY WORD-SHOULD. Which means not promised. So you cant hold Team Obama responsible if vaccine is flawed or non-existence. Theres almays an easy way out – blame Bush and GOP

    July 19, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  14. Jean

    This Info is important and school this fall could be quite difficult depending on this outbreak. Pull your head out of your behind and use the knowledge and make the best of it.
    That the virus is growing and it currently cannot be properly gaged IS A PROBLEM.
    I have a responsibility to do the best I can for my teenage kids. This includes action and finding out what is going on.
    Does it worry you that this is pretty much off the face of news and all I get is the weekly death in my area IN THE SUMMER TIME.

    July 19, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |