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Just one day after hosting a summit on the 2009 novel H1N1 flu with representatives from state, tribal, territorial and local governments from across the country, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the availability of $350 million in grants to help states and territories prepare for the 2009 novel H1N1 flu virus and the fall flu season. The grants were funded by the recent supplemental appropriations bill that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama on June 24, 2009.
“With flu season around the corner, we must remain vigilant and do all we can to prepare our nation and protect public health,” said Sebelius. “These grants will give states valuable resources to step up their flu preparedness efforts.”
A total of $260 million in Public Health Emergency Response Grants and $90 million in Hospital Preparedness grants will be distributed nationwide.
Public Health Emergency Response grants help state public health departments perform a variety of functions, including preparing for potential vaccination campaigns, implementing strategies to reduce people’s exposure to the 2009 novel H1N1 flu and improving influenza surveillance and investigations.
Hospital Preparedness grants enhance the ability of hospitals and healthcare systems to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies. Local outbreaks of the novel H1N1 virus have produced a surge of patients at hospitals, and these grants will help ensure hospitals are ready for future outbreaks that may impact their community.
In addition to the grants released today, the Obama Administration has taken a series of steps to help prepare and protect the American people from the novel H1N1 flu. In May, HHS distributed 11 million treatment courses of antivirals to states, territories and tribes to fight the H1N1 influenza outbreak. Also in May, HHS invested more than $1 billion to produce bulk supplies of key vaccine ingredients as part of the process to develop and test a potential H1N1 vaccine.
The Administration has upgraded and expanded www.flu.gov, which includes guidance that community leaders and the American people need to prepare for, prevent, and respond to the H1N1 flu virus.
The Obama Administration has also launched a new public service announcement competition. Any American can record and submit his or her own public service announcement regarding H1N1 flu preparedness by clicking HERE. The entries will be judged by experts and the winner will receive a $2,500 prize and the opportunity to have his or her announcement aired on television across the country.
A list of funding by state can be accessed by clicking HERE.