The Swine Flu Program:

An Unprecedented Venture in Preventive Medicine

HRD-77-115: Published: Jun 27, 1977. Publicly Released: Jun 27, 1977.

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The swine flu program was the Government's first attempt at immunizing the entire U.S. population.

The Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) lost its gamble in this episode of preventive medicine, but much can be learned from the program that should be useful in planning future immunization programs and related public health efforts. Legal liability continues to be a problem in immunization programs. All vaccine released for use utimately met Food and Drug Administration potency and safety standards. Potential protection provided by the vaccine is difficult to estimate. Not enough vaccine was produced or produced on time to immunize everyone in the United States had there been a swine flu outbreak. State readiness and implementation was never fully tested. Costs may far exceed the $135 million appropriated.

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