New video supports enhanced U.S. vaccine preparedness

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The current shortage of H1N1 vaccine underscores the severe lack of U.S. preparedness in responding to pandemics, whether through natural disease transmission or manmade bioterrorist attacks, according to a new video from the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism.

“Whether the threat is from naturally occurring disease or bioterrorism, the United States needs to be able to produce vaccines and other medicines faster and less expensively. We had six months of advance warning for the H1N1 pandemic. A bioterrorism attack will have no advance warning,” said Sen. Bob Graham, chairman of the commission. “Creating the infrastructure for rapid development of large quantities of safe vaccines and medicine is a win-win for public health and national security.”

The commission released the two-minute video to engage the U.S. public on the need to improve the nation’s capability to produce vaccines and medicines faster and less expensively — and just as safely.

“The video takes a light approach to a serious issue,” added Sen. Jim Talent, the commission’s vice chairman. “We want the public to know there are better options, and encourage policymakers to have the foresight to invest in them.”