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. Ann

    I can't remember.. Is this woman a doctor?

    August 16, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Swine flu will mutate and become just as virulent as avian flu

    August 16, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. J.C.

    With a public plan, everyone participates and contributes. When one gets sick, he or she will see a doctor sooner rather than later IF they have health care coverage. Getting diagnosed early and treated early will limit the spread of swine flu. Tamiflu works for most patients without underlying health problems, but you must take it within 48 hours of experiencing flu symptoms.

    August 16, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. RN

    Many of you think this is just another flu. I would encourage you to read a book called "Influenza" about the 1918 flu that killed millions world wide. This flu is following the same path that flu did. It was not the elderly or young that died in the 1918 flu, but the most healthy of the population. Very scary read, but very important.

    August 16, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. Tony

    Curious... a couple months back there was an article how survivors of the spanish flu (80+ years old) are immune to h1n1... I keep wondering how a recombinant avian/swine/human flu virus in 2009 can so perfectly genetically match a nearly century old flu virus as to allow spanish flue victims acquired immunity? When we have to develop a new vacinne each year for just the slightest variation of regular flu strains.

    August 16, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. annie for Palin

    Who does this george soros led administration plan to attack first with the swine flu – although opposing government rationed hell-th care? We knowkathleen siculus will be fine she even got away with cheating on her taxes!

    August 16, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  7. John Dilenger

    The shot is known to contain mercury a potent neurotoxin and squalene which has been linked to a number of diseases. The media has been trying to scare the world into getting flu shots for years now. This is really just an underhanded payout to the pharmaceuitical companies. Don't buy the hype. You'll be alright without the shot. I hope they plan on sending the kids home with permission slips to get the shot because they have no right to administer it to the children without parental consent.

    August 16, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. Chris

    Go Veg, treat animals with respect. As long as we engage in the violence of klling inncocent animals which have feelings and senses and even some intelligence – we are always inviting the wrath of our Karma.

    August 16, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  9. Karim

    Definitely a big "What"... as "What?" said below... no logic whatsoever...

    August 16, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. RN

    It doesn't matter if you are truly paranoid and think this is a government manufactured flu ? (Puh-lease) You still need to be prepared. People between the ages of 9-30 are being hit the hardest. Be prepared, make plans, we can expect in the worst case scenario- a 20-30% decrease in work force, this means supply chains will be interrupted. Have what you need at home to take care of your family including pets and livestock.

    August 16, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. maciej

    what a terrible post. seriously you need to hire some new editors. and some new producers. oh, and some some new anchors. in fact you should probably just quit and let the bbc take over. just sayin'.

    August 16, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. Robert

    Is the new motto of the hysterical conspiracy theorists on the right "Give me liberty AND give me death"?

    August 16, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  13. Aimee

    We were in one of the Texas districts closed for 2 weeks due to last year's swine flu outbreak (although to be clear, none of us actually got the flu). The first week of the closure, there was no response from either of our employers (mind you, we found out about the closures by text message at 8:30 pm on a Tuesday evening!) My husband's employer eventually allowed him to take 2 days off. My employer allowed 3 days - OUT OF 2 WEEKS. While I realize that is generous by most standards, we STILL found ourselves struggling to find someone to watch our two small children (who, remember, weren't sick). I echo the sentiment in other posts: employers must be more flexible in allowing employees time off to take care of the children who do get sick. Parent's "back up" plans are severely limited when the kids are actually sick (mentally go through the list of your friends who would want a kid sick with flu coming to the house?) I am really insulted by Sebelius' kind advice to have a back up plan. Thanks. How about urging employers to make a back up plan when their employees with sick children need to remain in the house so that others don't get sick, too?

    August 16, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  14. get the facts straight

    It is good to see that we Americans are starting to wake up and realize all is not as it seems. I have seen where pharma companies have applied for patents for the swine flu vaccine before the flu was known. Just another ploy for the sheeple. You will not se my making my kids take a vaccine that is untested. THe government doesn't know what is best for us.

    August 16, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. mova

    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 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  16. Hillary

    read alternative press and read the grim truth about all of this.

    August 16, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. Chris

    You guys all realize that not one of us is going to live forever. Stop stressing over everything and lambasting people who don't agree with you. Do what you believe is right to protect yourself and your loved ones and respect other people enough to have their own opinions without chastizing them.

    August 16, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. Sylvia

    I am so disappointed that this headline appeared on my CNN homepage. Talk about the Obama administration being upset by the unfounded accusations being made about his proposed health care plan – spreading unwarranted fear, etc., and then one of his aides comes out with an article like this with a fear instilling headline: ie "Preparing For The Worst" which immediately promotes fear in those not intelligent enough to check out the real facts of the case or about the necessity and safety of the vaccine being rush to market by the pharmaceutical industry – all of which is based on fear. And once again, it's our children who are being led to the slaughter as they are with mega vaccinations. Anyone looked at the increasing numbers of autistic children out there. God forbid we really look at the cause instead of pumping more drugs into the kids and our systems. When is the merry go round going to stop so we can all get off. I choose to do so now.

    August 16, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  19. Mike

    Continuing to call H1N1 the "swine flu" shows an incredible lack of scientific knowledge and disregard for our food supplies and agricultural production. H1N1 influenza now in humans did not come directly from swine nor has a link showing transmission from swine to humans been shown. This continued ignorance, manifested by the news media and politicians alike, is costing pork producers in the United States at least $10.5 million a day in lost revenue and consumer markets. With one of eight jobs in the United States directly related to agriculture, why don't you take the high road and call H1N1 what it is?

    August 16, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  20. txleadhead

    Preparing? If they were preparing the Border of Mexico would be shut down. Then deport 13,000,000 wetbacks that have been coming + going from Mexico bringing us this threat. Press 1 for English + 2 for gone.

    August 16, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  21. Mouthy

    Do we really believe that jobs are going to be so kind as to let parents off to take care of their sick children or take care of themselves? These people are all about M-O-N-E-Y so lets get ready to up the unemployment rate.

    August 16, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  22. Flu Zee

    We are all going to die, and thats the truth. Simply a matter of time. So live, love, and cover your mouth when you sneeze.

    August 16, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  23. Donna

    Let's hope the powers that be give the vaccine to our military first.

    August 16, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  24. Truly Informed Florida

    We pay a price for every drug we take. It's a trade off: Benefits versus side effects. We all have to do our homework like good little chidren.

    August 16, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. Duh

    The problem is the 'media flu' and CNN is a major cause.

    August 16, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
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