[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today joined U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Angus S. King Jr. (I-Maine), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) in calling on President Donald Trump to support legislation that would invest in research to help create a universal flu vaccine. Earlier this year, the Senators introduced the Flu Vaccine Act (S.2438), which would authorize additional resources over the next five years for research to help develop a more effective, universal influenza vaccine. In their letter, the Senators highlighted their efforts to secure $100 million in funding for research related to a universal influenza vaccine in the fiscal year 2018 appropriations bill that was signed into law in March.
“Seasonal influenza is a pressing public health threat, taking a substantial toll on our families, health care system, and economy each year,” write the Senators in their letter to President Trump. “It is critical that we develop a more effective and longer lasting approach to preventing influenza.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
This most recent flu season was particularly difficult in the United States, resulting in at least 160 pediatric deaths. Despite the damage inflicted by influenza annually, the current vaccine is only 60 percent effective at best. The flu costs the nation $10.4 billion in direct medical costs annually and $87 billion in total economic burden.