Background on the Swine Flu Immunization Program of 1976

In their book The Swine Flu Affair, authors Richard Neustadt and Harvey Fineberg write that:

The swine flu program of the Federal government was launched in March 1976 with a White House announcement by President Gerald R. Ford. ....

The National Influenza Immunization Program, the official title of this venture, was unprecedented in intended in timing and in scope among American immunization efforts. It aimed at inoculating everyone before December 1976 against a new flu strain that might conceivably become as big a killer as the flu of 1918, the worst ever. The program was funded by Congress through a $135 million appropriation, and it was later buttressed by special legislation in the field of liability. .... Inoculations started late, October 1, 1976. They had been slowed somewhat by difficulties in deciding children's dosages and seriously stalled by liability issues. On December 16, the program was suspended to assess statistical evidence of a serious side effect. Mass immunization never started up again.

For more information on the immunization program, see "Reflections on the 1976 Swine Flu Vaccination Program" by David J. Sencer, Director of the Center for Disease Control, and J. Donald Millar, Director of the National Influenza Immunization Program.