HHS grants $100 million for state pandemic preparedness

The Health and Human Services Department today announced $100 million in grants to all states to mobilize for an influenza pandemic.

The state and local grants amount to one-third of the $350 million included in the recent emergency appropriation for combating pandemic influenza passed by Congress in December.

'We have the opportunity to become the first generation in history to prepare for a pandemic. We will be a nation better prepared to face down the threat of any influenza, infectious disease, emergency or bioterrorism threat," said HHS secretary Mike Leavitt in a statement.

The initial grants will be awarded to all states and territories, with each receiving a minimum of $500,000 and additional allocations by population. HHS also is awarding grants to New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles County.

The remaining $250 million from the appropriation will be awarded later this year following guidance that will require progress and performance.

States and municipalities will use the funds to accelerate current planning efforts for pandemic influenza and 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.

President Bush has outlined a coordinated government strategy to stockpile vaccines and anti-viral medications and to expand early-warning and disease surveillance systems at www.pandemicflu.gov.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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