August 16th, 2009
11:14 AM ET
2 years ago

Sebelius on swine flu: 'We're preparing for the worst'

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Sunday that high priority populations will likely have completed the full regimen of swine flu vaccination by Thanksgiving.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Sunday that high priority populations will likely have completed the full regimen of swine flu vaccination by Thanksgiving.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Sunday that it would likely be Thanksgiving before the most vulnerable, high priority populations are completely vaccinated against the H1N1 or swine flu virus. In the meantime, Sebelius said parents and schools need to make back-up plans to deal with possible illness.

“We’re playing out a whole variety of scenarios,” Sebelius said on CNN’s State of the Union. “We’re preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.”

Sebelius told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that the administration was “optimistic” it would have a vaccine available by around mid-October.

“But the regimen will take about five weeks,” Sebelius said, “A first shot, three weeks delay, second shot, and then about two weeks for full immunity. So we’re really need to work between now and Thanksgiving with lots of social mitigation – keeping kids home from school if they’re sick. I would urge every family have a back-up child care plan.”

“If a parent gets sick, was is the plan?,” Sebelius also said Sunday, “because we know the disease spreads quickly and we will not have fully immunized even priority populations until about Thanksgiving.”

“We’re looking at schools as great partners for possible vaccine programs beginning in the fall to get kids immunized as quickly as possible because this is a children’s flu,” the Obama aide also said.

soundoff (119 Responses)
  1. No Kids

    Eileen, truly like your idea. Would only like to add one extra. I have no kids and am always expected to work holidays. Will you fill in for me once?

    August 16, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. Stef

    No Thanks, we wont be getting vaccinated against Swine Flu. I have two children 15 and 13, they have never had a vaccination and they have never been sick....never had any antibiotic....never had typical ear infections that other children get. Why....breast fed them until age 2, didn't throw them into day-care...and now I'm a stay at home mom so I can keep them home with me if the flu gets bad this fall/winter. We don't know the long term effects of this new vaccination. I would hate it if in another 10-15 years, when our children begin to have children,suddenly we find out that this vaccination had some serious reprecusions. The Amish, who do not vaccinate, have no autism in their community at this time.(I have read a few articles about this) I have two neighbors with autistic children, two nephews who are autistic and several friends with autistic children. Something is going on. I'm not stupid, I understand the value of vaccinations and I understand this flu is expected to get more deadly when it returns this winter....I just have a bad feeling about vaccinations..and as a Mommy, I'm going with my gut. I will pull the children out of school at the first sign of an outbreak and pray they stay safe. Scary times.

    August 16, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. Rose Galinda

    It seems to me that some of you would like to believe that everything is nice and beautiful in our world and that nothing wrong can happens. This flu is REAL, and it is here to stay. It has killed healthy young adults and children. It could be deadly on pregnant women and other people with underlying conditions. What's the matter with you? Are you so self-centered that you don't care about other human beings just because some of you are healthy?

    August 16, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. Deb

    The author of this article needs a proof reader!!!

    August 16, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. BCRX,NVAX has the edge

    Let's make some $$$, quit complaining and bickering,,look at these 2 swine flu stocks buy and profit..

    August 16, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. owen johnston

    lol the swine flu is harmless! The seasonal flu kills 36000 annualy this killed what 200? WHO and CDC and the feds are trying to blow smoke up our ass. And I won;t go near any stupid vaccine. They did this with the 79 swine flu which turned out to be harmless and killed like 25 people with their vaccine.

    August 16, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    What better way to get full employment and minimize the risk that there would be a revolt when the Social Security system collapses than to reduce the population by 25% or so? Especially if most of that reduction occurred in the elderly and infirmed....

    August 16, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. Swiney

    I have had the "Swine Flu" it's really not much of a threat, I got a fever went to the ER and tested positive for a culture swab, recieved ten days of quarters. Basically just felt like I had a regular flu and sat on my butt. Can I just say that Obama and his "healthcare plan" can shove it!?

    August 16, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  9. JLG

    Anyone who is interested in why the experts are frightened–and preparing for the worst-should read John Barry's 2004 book, The Great Influenza. It explains how influenza viruses jump across species, why when this happens the illness is initially mild, then a second, much more dangerous wave develops as the virus adapts to its new host species (us)-and why the 1918 flu, which the current flu resembles, killed tens of millions of people across the globe–how fast it spread, and how quickly it killed. It also discusses the role of wartime conditions in spreading the virus-we don't have that, but we do have global travel in a way that wasn't present in 1918.

    August 16, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  10. RR

    The media just loves creating a big panic where there is really no reason to panic. Remember SARS? Bird Flu? West Nile? Swine Flu? All of those, if you listened to the brethless reports in the media, were going to be the end of the human race. Enough hype and media overkill!

    August 16, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. mova

    Greetings,

    I will be stockpiling Viralox for my family this season.It is a all natural spray made from colostrum.Proven to be 3X more effective then a vaccine. Kept us all well last season hope it works as well this year. There is no way I would let anyone in my family take this untested vaccine I am sure the side effects will be told in years to come.

    Be Well, Mova

    August 16, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  12. Heather G

    I don't even know where to start!! Let's see...vaccines cause autism...NO, NO, NO and Double NO!! That has been debunked so many times that it is now an urban legend. Please get really informed about that myth. Let's see...the government (Obama probably personally) is going to come to your door and force vaccinations. Please people...remove the tin foil from your heads and stand away from sharp objects. Just use some common sense and stop the paranoia and conspiracy theories. Sometimes things just really are what they are presented to be...not some boogy man government cover up. Reality check...PLEASE!!!

    August 16, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. Al

    I read these posts and I have come to believe that stupidity is a contagious mental illness! Just because you read it on the web doesn't make it true.
    I am 65 yr's old and when I was a kid polio was a BIG thing.
    When was the last time any of you have seen a case of polio
    in your communities? I have lung disease because I smoked for 50 yr's and you can bet your collective opinionated butts that I will get this vaccine asap! By the way the connection between
    vaccinations and autism has long since been disproved. You get more mercury from your dental fillings than you will ever get from a once a year shot!
    Lastly if you can't spell or type simple words at least use spell check, you won't appear like a ranting angry fool!

    August 16, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  14. Rock

    I bet that the Federal Government is preparing with the WHO for this deal – as in PREPARING IT to begin with. Two seeks of testing on vaccination side effects? You've got to be kidding!

    And what about the millions of doses already prepared BEFORE the trials are completed? Two weeks is a methodological Bad Joke.

    This is political and business science, not real science at play here.

    August 16, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  15. James Cole

    Won't change anything, won't help anyone.

    I personally am totally against vaccinations for H1N1, or any other strain of influenza. What are these clowns trying to do to us... make us helplessly dependent on outside help without immune systems? If you want to live a healthier life, expose yourself to more nasty stuff. Dirty, filthy, foul sewage. My job calls for it on a daily basis and honest to god I have not been sick with anything for 3 years. Healthy as a horse.

    Why? Because like anything if you don't use it, you lose it. I use my immune system alot. Its strong, and I depend on it more than I depend on the availability of antibioticss or vaccinations in an emergency. Oh sure they have their place, but I mean to say that when it comes to H1N1 we'd all be better off taking George Bush's policy and saying "bring it on".

    Much better in the long run if we let nature do its thing. BUT, looking back on past trends, I'd say someone, somewhere is going to foul things up and conjure a really lethal, highly transmittable pathogen and kill nearly everyone. Hopefully I'll be ready for that too.

    August 16, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  16. Phillydan

    JC: Irrational post. First off the vaccine is not available yet for the general public. There is testing going on with volunteers by the various manufacturers of the vaccine.

    At risk with the H1N1 virus are younger people, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems. They will be prioritized to get vaccinated first.

    In the unfortunate event, that one of your family members does contact the H1N1 virus, they (Doctors and Hospitals) will try to treat it with tamiflu or relenza. In a lot of cases, H1N1 is proving resistant to these anti-virals. Another anti-viral option by IV is Peramivir. It is now being reviewed by the FDA for emergency use authorization. Phase III studies over in Japan by Shionogi Corporation have shown it to be effective in treating patients with the H1N1 virus. Make sure that your Doctor or Hospital is aware of that option if Tamiflu does not work.

    August 16, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. jc

    What, you obviously did not read the post thru and thru. someone earlier posted that at the first sign of "swin flu" symptoms, you should go to the hospital and get a shot, which by the way is available out there for those who want to be guinea pigs. Also, if the shots are not available yet, then shouldn't everyone stay home right now, the president of costa rica had the swine flu last week, LA Galaxy player had the swine flu this week, did they get a shot? no, are they still alive? yes. Since it takes several days to confirm the test if you do have swine flu, then you're already dead right? so how come all those people are not dying?
    And just so you know, 1100 people died worldwide of the swine flu so far, 35000 to 45000 people die each year in the US alone of the regular flu, so go figure this one out.

    August 16, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  18. Joe

    Obama "Aide?" Secretary Sebelius is a Cabinet Secretary, not an aide to the president. If CNN can't even get this fundamental fact right, why should we trust anything else they say? Who's running CNN these days, the folks at Wikipedia?

    August 16, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  19. Dr. Jan

    Swine flu differs from "regular" influenza in that 1) it stimulates an overwhelming immune response, causing the lungs to fill with inflammatory fluid; this is why it kills young people with stronger immune systems, rather than older people, and 2) its antigen composition is so different than anything ever experienced before by people alive today, that we have no immunity to it.

    So far it seems to spread very quickly, but not kill a large percentage of people. However, it only takes one mutation to change that, and flu viruses mutate rapidly. Furthermore, an infected person is the most contagious on the day BEFORE symptoms start, so simply telling sick people to stay home will not stop the spread.

    Unless we all want to take Tamiflu continuously, immunization is the only answer. I'm an internist, and I plan to get it for myself, my husband and our young children, as well as offer it to as many of my patients as will take it, as soon as it is available.

    Every adult has the right to make his or her own choice about immunization, but those who choose not to take the shot are much more likely to suffer the misery, and pass it on to those around them.

    August 16, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  20. mama panda

    People who politicize everything and see everything as a government sponsored/backed plot are amazing. It will be interesting to see how fast they change their tune if/when H1N1 really delivers the worst case scenario - and their own selves and families –with no plans and no vaccinations–are hard hit, perhaps, unfortunately, even to the point of death. Wanna bet they'll be the first ones hollering for rescue?

    August 16, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  21. Mary

    The flu shots they already have we have been told by the doctors that it does not prevent the recent flu so why worry about taking it because isn't the swine flu the recent one this time? I also wonder about haing a live virus shot into us, maybe workds on some but does it work on all??? everyone just seems to be a little unclear as to what to expect since they woun;t even have it for the next couple of months, how do they know the reaction on people??

    August 16, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  22. J. Heath

    ok people-stop preaching your favorite prattle and wake up!
    We need to protect everyone-especially the children to the thirty somethings that have no prior exposure to this flue
    IT IS SERIOUS AND NOT A JOKE.

    August 16, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  23. Man...

    Becuase your girlfriend or wife works at a hospital/is a nurse does not mean they know what they are talking about. Because someone is from the south does not mean they are an idiot (if you believe they are, you are in fact, the idiot).

    August 16, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. ADAM

    Jesus Saves; Acts 2:38

    its proven this is man made.

    the new world order is coming and i sure enough aint scared to tell u

    August 16, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  25. J. Heath

    (pressed something and submitted before I was done)
    If you are a parent-IMMUNIZE yourselves and your children as soon as possible and don't play dumb about this.
    We are going to bury kids and parents this year-which is a horrifying but absolutely true statement.
    Get real-and take care of yourselves.
    please.

    August 16, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
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