We write to call your attention to an upcoming briefing by the Foundation for Vaccine Research, The It’s Time Campaign, and Sabin Vaccine Institute on our progress in developing an improved seasonal flu vaccine, as well as our quest to attain a universal flu vaccine. Your staff should also receive information on this briefing from the organizers.
With a mild flu season killing 12,000 Americans per year – and an estimated 80,000 deaths just last season – the flu is a formidable foe that costs the nation $10.4 billion in direct medical costs annually and an astounding $87 billion in total economic burden. It is the cumulative effect of the virus, however, that underscores the real public health burden the flu places on our health care infrastructure and economy. The flu has reached pandemic levels three times in the 20th Century and once in the 21st century, yet we still do not have an optimal response to this public health menace.
Experts in the federal government, academia, and industry are advancing research to mitigate the impact of the flu on our families and communities. This briefing will feature the experts in flu vaccine research, including Dr. Tony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Leading flu vaccine researchers will be on Capitol Hill to brief staff of their efforts at the following time and location:
Tuesday, February 26
11:30am – 1:00 pm
124 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Lunch will be provided
This briefing will help speak to the importance of our legislation, the Flu Vaccine Act. The Flu Vaccine Act will build upon Congress’ recent appropriations for universal flu vaccine research by authorizing $200 million per year over the next five years
at NIAID for the basic science research necessary to develop a universal flu vaccine.
We hope that staff or interns from your office will be able to attend this briefing and learn about the important work underway to improve our response to the flu and end this scourge once and for all.
Member of Congress
Edward J. Markey
United States Senator