(December 23, 2020) – As 190.4 million flu vaccines have been
distributed in the United States so far this flu season, Senator Edward J.
Markey (D-Mass.) announced he helped secure $220 million in the year-end
spending package for research for the creation of a universal influenza vaccine
that could protect against multiple strains of the flu virus and offer longer
lasting protection. The flu costs the nation at least $3.2 billion in direct
medical costs annually and $87 billion in total economic burden. With increased
vaccination rates this flu season, paired with stay-at-home orders, incidence
of flu cases are down 91 percent from November 2019. Last April, the National
Institutes of Health (NIH) began its first clinical trial of an innovative
universal influenza vaccine candidate.
the creation of the coronavirus vaccine, we have seen what happens when we
fully empower scientists with the funding to research and innovate,” said Senator Markey. “Now, we have to do the same with
the creation of a universal flu vaccine and enhance our response to this global
scourge. With the additional research funding in this year-end spending bill,
we will supercharge our ability to predict the right strain for the next
season, produce a more optimal vaccine, and protect all Americans against all
strains of this virus.”
Markey and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) previously introduced the Flu
, legislation to conduct or
support comprehensive research for the creation of a universal influenza
vaccine that could protect against multiple strains of the flu virus and offer
longer lasting protection. The legislation calls for a total investment of $1
billion – $200,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2020 through 2024 for NIH.
Senator Markey and his colleagues were able to secure a dedicated $100 million,
$140 million, and $200 million for fiscal years 2018, 2019, and 2020,
respectively, for universal flu vaccine research at the National Institute of
Allergy and Infectious Diseases within NIH.