Obama: Brace for Swine Flu Outbreak

Calls for 'vigilance,' not 'panic'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 9, 2009 11:33 AM CDT
A worker holds flu vaccine dispensers at the Sinovac Biotech Ltd. laboratory in Beijing, China, Monday, June 15, 2009.   (AP Photo/Greg Baker)
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(Newser) – President Obama called for “rigorous” planning by state and local officials in anticipation of a possible swine flu outbreak this fall, CNN reports. “We want to make sure we aren't promoting panic, but we are promoting vigilance and preparation,” Obama—on a video link from the G8 summit in Italy—told governors and health workers attending a summit on the disease. He urged officials to be ready for a vaccination campaign and highlighted the potential threat to schools.

HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the attendees that an H1N1 vaccine should be available by mid-October. “Scientists and public health experts forecast that the impact of H1N1 may well worsen in the fall—when the regular flu season hits—or even earlier—when schools start to open,” she noted. A possible vaccine will be reviewed by health experts early next month, said an official.