Officials plan swine flu response

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(Host) Vermont officials are working with their state and federal counterparts to plan for the return of the swine flu this summer.

Vermont officials are involved in a meeting in Washington about preparing for the return of swine flu this fall.

Human Services Secretary Rob Hofmann and Health Commissioner Wendy Davis are part of a summit that involves several federal agencies and representatives from 54 states and territories.

Governor Jim Douglas was one of a handful of governors who joined a summit on the flu via an interactive television hookup.

Douglas questioned Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about progress on developing a vaccination program against swine flu.

(Douglas) "Will there be enough doses? How might we organize, if you’re going to recommend universal vaccination, such a process, and perhaps importantly, who’s going to pay for it?"

(Host) Swine flu is the unique strain of influenza that started showing up this spring.

The strain was relatively mild. But health officials say they want to be prepared for when flu season returns this spring in case the strain proves to be more serious than initially thought.

Sebelius told Douglas that the Obama administration considers vaccines against swine flu to be a federal responsibility.

(Douglas) "Right now we don’t anticipate, given the timetable and the rapid need to get this out, that this will be done through private sources the way the seasonal flu is. This will be really a public effort funded by the federal government."

(Host) Douglas says that will help states, which already face a lot of financial problems.

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