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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, Jan. 12, 2006

Contact: HHS Press Office
(202) 690-6343

HHS Announces $100 Million to Accelerate State and Local Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Efforts

As part of President Bush’s plan to mobilize the nation to prepare for an influenza pandemic, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today announced $100 million in funding for state and local preparedness.

“Pandemics happen globally but must be managed at the state and local level, and these funds will help communities meet that responsibility,” Secretary Leavitt said. “Preparation works and it can save lives. We have the opportunity to become the first generation in history to prepare for a pandemic.”

This funding is part of $350 million included in the recent emergency appropriation for combating pandemic influenza passed by Congress in December. These initial grants will be awarded to all 50 states, 7 territories, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. Each state will receive a minimum of $500,000, with additional allocation of funds by population. In addition to the state grants, funds are being awarded to New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles County. The remaining $250 million from the appropriation will be awarded later this year in accord with guidance that will require progress and performance.

States and municipalities will use these funds to accelerate and intensify current planning efforts for pandemic influenza and to exercise their plans. The focus is on practical, community-based procedures that could prevent or delay the spread of pandemic influenza, and help to reduce the burden of illness communities would contend with during an outbreak.

Secretary Leavitt made the announcement at Pandemic Planning Summits in Vermont and West Virginia with state officials and community leaders today. These summits are the latest in a series of forums that will be convened in each state over the next few months.

President Bush has outlined a coordinated government strategy that includes the establishment of the new International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza, stockpiling of vaccines and antiviral medications, expansion of early-warning systems domestically and abroad, as well as new funding and initiatives for local and state level preparedness.

In December, Secretary Leavitt met with senior officials from all 50 states and launched a series of preparedness summits to be held in every state over the next several months. The goal of the summits is to enhance state and local preparedness. In addition to this new funding and the state summits, HHS has sought to foster planning by developing checklists for individuals and families, businesses and state and local health departments to aid their pandemic preparedness efforts.

“The steps we take toward preparing have far-reaching benefits. We will be a nation better prepared to face down the threat of any influenza, infectious disease, emergency or bioterrorism threat,” Secretary Leavitt said.

The following chart outlines the new funding awarded today. More information on pandemic preparedness efforts is available at www.pandemicflu.gov.

State Allocation Distribution Chart

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Last revised: July 11, 2006