A Senate subcommittee yesterday dropped a $15 million appropriation for a wide-scale flu immunization program from the supplemental Health, Education and Welfare Department budget it will recommend to the Appropriations Committee.
Sen. Birch Bayh (D-Ind.) suggested the Labor-HEW subcommittee retain funds for the flu program so the full committee could study the issue. But the consensus was against a flu program, and the money was eliminated.
The program would provide vaccines against three types of influenza - A-Russian, A-Texas and B-Hong Kong - expected this winter. Swine flu is not included in the proposed vaccination program.
Sen. Richard Schweiker (R-Pa) opposed funding the flu program, citing public dissatisfaction with the swine flu campaign during 1976-1977.
Subcommittee members were concerned that public unease with a flu program would interfere with other immunization plans. Discussion yesterday lasted about 15 minutes.
The full Senate Appropriations Committee hopes to consider the $6 billion HEW budget request on Aug. 1. The flu vaccination program could be reinstated by the committee, although there appears little support for such a move.
The House version of the HEW request still includes the $15 million flue program.
The flu vaccination program was recommended by a special government would buy the vaccine and give states money to carry out the immunization. Thirty-two states have agreed to participate.
While the swine flu program attempted to vaccinate the entire population, the proposed immunization would only try to reach "high risk" people - the elderly and children and adults with chronic health problems. This is about 42 million people.