The rapid spread of avian influenza (H5N1) and its transmission to humans has raised the possibility of an imminent pandemic and concerns over the ability of standard influenza vaccine production methods to supply sufficient amounts of an effective vaccine. We report here on a robust and flexible strategy which uses wild-type virus grown in a continuous cell culture (Vero) system to produce an inactivated whole virus vaccine. Candidate vaccines based on clade 1 and clade 2 influenza H5N1 strains, produced at a variety of manufacturing scales, were demonstrated to be highly immunogenic in animal models without the need for adjuvant. The vaccines induce cross-neutralising antibodies and are protective in a mouse challenge model not only against the homologous virus but against other H5N1 strains, including those from other clades. These data indicate that cell culture-grown, whole virus vaccines, based on the wild-type virus, allow the rapid high-yield production of a candidate pandemic vaccine.