Sending Office: Honorable Rick Larsen
Protect Americans from the Flu:
Become an original cosponsor of the Protecting Americans from Seasonal Influenza Act and the
National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Update Act
DEADLINE: January 29th
Supporting Organization(s): Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense
The flu is more than just an annual inconvenience. During the last flu season, at least 37 million Americans had flu symptoms, 17.3 million received medical care, 531,000 were hospitalized, and 36,400 died (1). In fact, influenza/pneumonia is the eighth
leading cause of mortality in the United States, responsible for approximately 1 out of every 50 deaths (2).
Fortunately, a vaccine now exists for seasonal influenza, although its effectiveness can vary year-to-year. Still, the vaccine is the best way to protect from the flu, and the CDC recommends every American 6 months of age and older get the vaccine every
flu season. Despite this recommendation, only 45 percent of adults received the vaccine last year (3).
Because flu viruses mutate rapidly, occasionally an emerging strain will prove particularly lethal. Flu pandemics, though rare, are a constant threat. A century ago, the 1918 pandemic swept the globe, killing at least 50 million people. Subsequent flu pandemics
have been far less deadly, but the threat remains.
This legislative package addresses both seasonal and pandemic influenza:
- Protecting Americans from Seasonal Influenza Act
This bill establishes a $10 million grant for states to implement programs aimed at increasing flu vaccination rates, including outreach to vulnerable populations, encouraging employers to provide vaccines, and conducting public
This spending is a responsible investment, as the economic burden of flu is estimated at $11.2 billion/year (4).
- National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Update Act
In 2005, the Bush White House released a National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza, followed by an implementation plan the following year. With continued challenges in developing vaccine, ongoing struggles with pandemic preparedness,
advances in many technologies, and lessons learned from the 2009 H1N1 and subsequent pandemics, it is high time to update the strategy and its implementation plan.
The bill provides the White House 90 days to update the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza and 270 days to update the implementation plan.
To become an original cosponsor of these bills, or for more information, please contact J.Z. Golden of my staff at
Member of Congress
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