Video: Sebelius: ‘Definitely is a safe vaccine’

  1. Closed captioning of: Sebelius: ‘Definitely is a safe vaccine’

    >> tom costello, thank you very much. kathleen sebelius is the secretary of health and human services . secretary sebelius, good morning to you.

    >> good morning, meredith.

    >> i'd like to start where tom left off. he said at the end of his piece that the cdc insists that the h1n1 vaccine is safe, but there are a lot of people who have their doubts because they're not sure that the vaccine has been thoroughly vetted. there are also people who say they're not going to get the shot because, even though we've seen swine flu now in all 50 states , most of the cases have been mild. can you address both of those issues, beginning with safety and the shot?

    >> sure. this h1n1 vaccine is being made exactly the way seasonal flu vaccine has been made year in and year out. so, we have data specifically, clinical trials on h1n1 , but we have millions of cases of data on seasonal flu vaccine, and the adverse effects are minimal compared to what can happen when you get the flu. so, year after year after year, we tested seasonal flu . we know it's safe and secure. this is exactly the same process, the same virus. i was just in st. louis yesterday at one of our clinical trials , and they're thrilled with the fact that we've got the right virus identified and the right vaccine for the right virus. so, i would urge people to visit flu.gov. we've got some myths and facts there that people can check out for themselves, but this definitely is a safe vaccine for people to get.

    >> what about people who say they're not going to get it, because quite frankly, most of the cases have been mild?

    >> well, i think the flu is the flu. what we've had is over 600 deaths so far, and this flu is a younger person's flu. kids have no immunity to this flu, so that not only to protect your own children, but to protect the folks around them. children are great carriers of bugs and viruses, and giving it to their classmates or playmates who may have an underlying health condition or to a grandmother or to a babysitter is always a very dangerous situation. we know the vaccine is here. we're beginning to roll it out. we would strongly urge parents to take precautionary steps. the flu kills every year. people get seriously ill. and we've got a great vaccine to deal with it.

    >> right now, you're prioritizing who gets the vaccine. it's being given to health care workers, anyone under 24, pregnant women , adults with health problems, child care workers. the rest of the population, when can they expect to get the shots?

    >> well, there will be plenty of vaccine. it's rolling off the production lines right now, a little ahead of schedule, which is great news, but it will take a while for it to be in great quantity in states. by the end of october, we should have a substantial amount available and begin to vaccinate a wider population of folks.

    >> but meanwhile, the flu is spreading. it's already in all 50 states , so, are you concerned -- and this rollout is going to go through december. so, are you concerned that it might not make much of a difference, because this disease is already out there?

    >> well, there's no question the disease is out there, which is why today we're unrolling about 13 psas, including my favorite from elmo and rosita to talk about how to sneeze and to make sure that people take steps to stop the spread of the disease as much as we can, to remind folks to keep your kids home if they're sick or stay home if you're sick. and in the meantime, we will push the vaccine out as quickly as we get it off the production lines. it all, as you know, meredith, doesn't get produced at once. so, we're going to get it to the 90,000 sites identified throughout the country as fast as we possibly can.

    >> all right. thank you so much, health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius . a very busy lady these days. thanks for your time.

    >> thank you.

    >> and we'll have much more

updated 10/7/2009 9:23:19 AM ET 2009-10-07T13:23:19

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius appealed anew Wednesday for widespread inoculation against a surging swine flu threat, calling the vaccine "safe and secure."

Sebelius unconditionally vouched for the safety of the vaccine, saying it "has been made exactly the same way seasonal vaccine has been made, year in and year out."

Appearing on morning news shows to step up the Obama administration's campaign for vaccinations, Sebelius said that "the adverse effects are minimal. ... We know it's safe and secure. ... This is definitely is a safe vaccine for people to get."

Sebelius was asked on CNN about surveys showing many parents were wary of getting their children vaccinated for fear the vaccine has been too hastily prepared and wasn't safe. She replied that it was targeted specifically at the H1N1 virus and was "right on target with an immune response."

The HHS secretary appeared as new cases of the flu, particularly among younger people, have been appearing recently. Some 600 people have died so far from the flu in this country, and the government has targeted roughly 90,000 sites to receive the swine flu vaccine by the end of this month.

"This flu is a younger person's flu," Sebelius said on NBC's "Today" show. "Kids have no immunity to the flu ... children are great carriers of bugs and viruses."

Because of the danger of easy transmission, especially in school and day-care settings, Sebelius said, "We strongly urge parents to take precautionary steps. Flu kills every year ... and we've got a great vaccine to deal with it."

"There's going to be plenty of vaccine," the secretary said. "It's rolling off the production lines right now ... ahead of schedule, and that's good news... By the end of October we should have a substantial amount available and begin to vaccinate a wider population of folks."

Video: Hospitals brace for tough flu season Said Sebelius: "There's no question the disease is out there, which is why today we're rolling out PSAs (public service announcements) ... to make sure people take steps to help prevent the spread of the disease, and in the meantime we will push the vaccine out as quickly as we get it off the production lines."

Appearing on CBS's "The Early Show," she said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the President's Advisory Committee on Immunizations have identified five target populations: pregnant women, health care workers, children with underlying health conditions ages 6 months to 24 years, older Americans with underlying health conditions.

"That's a lot of people," Sebelius said. "That's about half the population."

"By the end of this week," she added,"we'll begin to have injectable vaccine also available. We're dealing with five production companies. That's very good news. But the vaccine will become available as the lines clear up. So as soon as we have any vaccine available, we're pushing it out to 90,000 sites around the country. The early going is a little bumpy but we'll have a good supply by October."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

Advertisement