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February 27, 2019

King Announces Support for Bill to More Than Double Investment in Universal Flu Vaccine

Current flu vaccine is estimated to be only 50 percent effective this season

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today cosponsored the Flu Vaccine Act, legislation to support comprehensive research for the creation of a universal influenza vaccine that could protect against multiple strains of the flu virus and offer more effective and longer-lasting protection than current annual vaccines. The legislation calls for a total investment of $1 billion – $200 million for each of the fiscal years 2020 through 2024 for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Congress has 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.

“Year in and year out, the flu is a hardship for American families. But with further research and development, we can achieve a universal flu vaccine,” Senator King said. “By increasing funding for our scientists and health care professionals, we can take a critical step towards protecting Americans, improving public health, and making the world a safer place for us all.”

Senator King’s support for the Flu Vaccine Act follows a January letter he and a group of Senate colleagues sent to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) asking it provide an update on research initiatives to develop a universal flu vaccine.

Joining Senator King in support of the Flu Vaccine Act are Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). A companion bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

A copy of the Flu Vaccine Act can be found HERE.

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