The Connecticut Democrat announced the proposal Saturday at a flu shot clinic in East Hartford. He’s co-sponsoring the bill with Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey and several other Democrats.
A universal vaccine would provide protection against multiple types of the flu, rather than a select few that a typical seasonal vaccine guards against. Federal officials estimate this year’s vaccine is only 36 percent effective in preventing severe flu illness.
The legislation would provide $1 billion over five years to the National Institutes of Health for development of a universal vaccine. Blumenthal says $64 million was awarded to researchers in 2017, which he called “a pittance” compared to what’s needed.