President Announces Plan to Expand Fight Against H1N1 Flu
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2009 President Barack Obama announced today that the United States will continue to act aggressively to stop the global spread of the pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza virus.
The nation also is prepared to make 10 percent of its H1N1 vaccine supply available to other countries through the World Health Organization, he said.
There is broad, international recognition that the 2009 H1N1 pandemic presents a global health risk," Obama said in an announcement released today. "Millions of people around the world have been affected, thousands have died, and the virus continues to spread across international borders. The United States recognizes that just as this challenge transcends borders, so must our response.
"We invite other nations to join in this urgent global health effort," the president continued. "Working together, we can ensure that this vaccine limits the spread of the disease, reduces the burden on health care systems, reduces the risk of an even more virulent strain emerging and, most importantly, saves lives -- in the United States and around the world."
White House officials said the United States is taking this action in concert with Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, recognizing that diseases know no borders and that the health of the American people is inseparable from the health of people around the world. The United States will make the H1N1 vaccine available to the World Health Organization on a rolling basis as vaccine supplies become available, in order to help countries that otherwise will not have direct access to the vaccine.
The Food and Drug Administration officially licensed the 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine this week. The Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health announced last week that one dose of the vaccine -- rather than two -- will be effective in developing immunity in most adults, and that the vaccine would be available in the coming weeks, earlier than originally anticipated.
White House officials said they are confident that the United States will have sufficient doses of the vaccine to ensure that every American who wants a vaccine is able to receive one. They recommend that early priority at home and abroad should be given to pregnant women, health care workers, peolple caring for infants less than 6 months old and other high-risk populations.