HHS Puts $1 Billion Toward Swine Flu Vaccine : Shots - Health News The U.S. will put up $1 billion to fund clinical tests of pilot batches and production of key vaccine ingredients to combat the new swine flu. Elmo helps kids wash up.
NPR logo HHS Puts $1 Billion Toward Swine Flu Vaccine

HHS Puts $1 Billion Toward Swine Flu Vaccine

Elmo and HHS's Sebelius say, "Wash your hands." Getty Images hide caption

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The feds said today they will spend $1 billion to pave the way for a potential swine flu vaccine.

"The actions we are taking today will help us be prepared if a vaccine is needed," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

Some of the money will go toward clinical tests of batches of vaccine this summer to figure out the right dose.

The government funding would also support production of vaccine ingredients for stockpiling and later use in mass vaccination. Bloomberg reports the goverment placed orders with AstraZeneca's MedImmune unit, CSL Ltd., GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Sanofi-Aventis.

Sebelius said no decision has been made yet about starting full-blown vaccine manufacturing and that scientific hurdles remain, the Associated Press writes.

Separately, Sebelius announced a public service ad campaign to promote healthy habits to minimize the spread of H1N1 virus. Sesame Street's Elmo, who will be featured, helped with the annoucement. Kids of all ages should wash their hands often with soap and water.