So far, most published results from clinical trials using various avian influenza virus vaccine formulations have been disappointing. Should the pandemic strike, we still do not have the ability to provide an efficacious pandemic vaccine in time and in sufficient quantities for the world. The H5N1 enzootic could potentially give rise to a pandemic at any time. Transcontinental air traffic could seed the pandemic virus to most corners of the globe within a few weeks/months. We still have a unique window of opportunity to stimulate and support academia and the pharmaceutical industry to accelerate the urgently needed vaccine research. The political inertia is surprising, particularly as politicians, if and when a pandemic eventuates, will be asked why, despite repeated warnings, they did not take appropriate action in time. It is a governmental obligation--and not that of the WHO or the pharmaceutical industry--to protect their nationals. Moreover, when the poorer nations of this world realize that equitable quantities of the scarce supplies of vaccines, drugs and medical essentials will not come their way, the post-pandemic international scene will be one of even more deep distrust for many years. This scenario is not acceptable.