Bill Text (PDF)

Washington (November 2, 2023) - Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security,and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) reintroduced the Flu Vaccine Act, legislation to invest in research for a universal influenza vaccine, that would protect against multiple strains of the flu virus and offer longer-lasting protection. The legislation calls for a total investment of $1 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for this research.

“The tripledemic of RSV, COVID-19, and the flu threatens our health and floods emergency rooms and health care providers on the frontlines. The tool we need in the fight to protect the health and safety of millions of Americans is a universal flu vaccine,” said Senator Markey. “The Flu Vaccine Act supercharges America’s scientists and clinicians to help keep them on the cutting edge of innovation and develop a vaccine that works every flu season for every American. I thank Congresswoman DeLauro for her continued efforts to ensure a flu-free future once and for all.” 

“With the creation of the COVID-19 vaccines, we have seen firsthand the benefits of providing scientists with the resources they need to study and create vaccines,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “We must approach the universal flu vaccine with the same attention and focus. Influenza is responsible for between 12,000 and 52,000 deaths annually in the United States, up to 650,000 globally. This impact and the deadly toll are staggering considering we have had annual vaccines for decades. Currently, health officials are forced to predict what strains the annual flu vaccine should try to combat in any given flu season. The Flu Vaccine Act would fix this problem by investing in the creation of a universal flu vaccine—saving lives by taking the guesswork out of the equation. More than 100 years after the Spanish influenza killed tens of millions across the globe—including my own grandfather—we can, and we must, do better. I am grateful for Senator Markey for being such a strong partner in this effort."

A copy of the bill text can be found HERE.

Cosponsors in the Senate include Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). 

Last December, Senator Markey celebrated his and his colleagues’ successful effort to secure $270 million in the end-of-year omnibus spending package for research and development of a universal flu vaccine, a $25 million funding increase over the previous year. In February 2021, Senator Markey reintroduced the Coronavirus Vaccine Act, legislation to authorize $1 billion for the development of a universal coronavirus vaccine or therapeutic. In May 2020, he and Senator Warren led their colleagues in a letter to then-Vice President Mike Pence, head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, urging the Trump administration to prepare for simultaneous peaks of 2020 flu season and a COVID-19 outbreak.