Members of the public will have an opportunity to share their opinions on the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) draft of the Pandemic Influenza Response and Preparedness Plan. The plan outlines a coordinated national strategy to prepare for and respond to an influenza pandemic. It can be found on-line at www.hhs.gov/nvpo/pandemicplan. It will be available for public comment for 60 days.
Specifically, the plan provides guidance to national, state, and local policy makers and health departments for public health preparation and response in case of a pandemic influenza outbreak. HHS supports pandemic influenza activities in 5 crucial areas: surveillance, vaccine development and production, antiviral stockpiling, research, and public health preparedness.
The draft plan includes a core section and 12 annexes. The crux of the plan outlines coordination and decision making at the national level; gives an overview of key issues; and illustrates action steps that should be taken at the national, state, and local levels prior to and during a pandemic. The annexes include more information for health departments and private sector organizations to use in creating local preparedness plans, as well as additional information to support the core document.
"This plan will serve as our road map on how we as a nation, and as a member of the global health community, respond to the next pandemic influenza outbreak, whenever that may be," said HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. "Our proposed strategy draws upon the wealth of experience and knowledge we have gained in responding to a number of recent public health threats, including SARS [severe acute respiratory syndrome] and avian influenza."