For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
December 18, 2006
Fact Sheet: Implementation of the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza: Six-Month Status Report
In Focus: Pandemic Flu
Today, Frances Fragos Townsend, The Assistant To The President For Homeland Security And Counterterrorism, Summarized Progress The U.S. Government Has Made Implementing The Actions In The National Strategy For Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan. The National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza was released by the President on November 1, 2005, on the same day that the President requested $7.1 billion from Congress to accomplish the objectives of the Strategy. The Implementation Plan was released on May 3, 2006, and directed Federal Departments and Agencies to undertake over 300 actions in support of the National Strategy.
- The Progress Report Released Today Is An Action-By-Action Summary Of Progress So Far. In order to track implementation of the Strategy, each of its more than 300 actions includes a measure of performance and a timeline for completion. This report summarizes the state of progress on each action ("completed" or "in progress"), and provides a description of efforts that have been undertaken by the responsible Departments and Agencies.
Summary Of Progress Implementing The Strategy1
Ninety-Two Percent Of All Actions Due Within Six Months Of Release Of The Implementation Plan in May 2006 Have Been Completed. The remaining eight percent of actions are still in progress, and should be completed shortly.
This Outcome Is A Result Of The Tireless Work Of Federal Employees In Departments And Agencies Across The Government, Working Domestically And Abroad. Specific progress includes:
- Federal Pandemic Preparedness Plans: All Federal Departments and Agencies are developing their own pandemic preparedness plans to ensure that they are addressing all elements of a comprehensive checklist. The "meta-checklist" guiding their efforts is available for any institution to use, at www.pandemicflu.gov.
- Statewide Pandemic Planning Summits: Secretary Leavitt and other senior officials from the Department of Health and Human Services have led Statewide pandemic planning summits in all States. We are investing $600 million in State and local preparedness efforts, including the exercising of pandemic plans across communities and at all levels of government.
- Community-Wide Mitigation Strategies: We have focused unprecedented attention on the role of community-wide mitigation strategies, such as early school closure, cancellation of public gatherings, and other "social distancing" behaviors in reducing illness during a pandemic. Interim guidance on the ways communities can use these interventions most effectively will be released in January.
- Vaccine Production: We have invested over $1 billion in the development of new cell-culture technologies for influenza vaccine production, and will soon announce contracts to adapt existing egg-based vaccine facilities for pandemic vaccine production.
- Adjuvants: Very promising results on the testing of "dose-stretching" materials, also known as "adjuvants," have recently been announced by companies involved in this research. If proved to be safe and effective, adjuvants could allow a dramatic reduction in the amount of vaccine necessary to immunize a person against a pandemic virus, thereby allowing us to vaccinate many more people with our vaccine stockpile.
- Rapid Diagnostic Tests: We have invested in the development of rapid diagnostic tests, to allow swift recognition of a pandemic virus in the human population, thereby allowing rapid isolation and treatment of infected individuals.
- Bird Surveillance System: We have put a nationwide wild bird surveillance system in place to provide early warning of an outbreak of H5N1 in the bird population, and are reporting the results of these efforts to the public on an ongoing basis.
- International Efforts: We have invested $434 million in international efforts, far more than any other nation, in an effort to build infrastructure in affected regions of the world to rapidly recognize and respond to an outbreak of a pandemic virus. In addition to improving these nations' ability to control outbreaks of H5N1 in their bird populations, these systems may make it possible to slow, stop, or limit the spread of a pandemic virus to the U.S.
The Work Ahead
This Progress Is Very Promising, But Much Work Remains. In addition to the small number of "six-month" actions that are not yet complete, a number of other actions that are due at nine, 12, and 24 months are underway and will require sustained effort and resources.
- Actions Due Within Six Months. Actions due within six months that are still underway include the development of best practices and guidance for selected State and local entities and improvements in mortality reporting by communities. It is anticipated that these actions will be rated "complete" shortly.
- Most Importantly, We Must Continue To Encourage All Entities, From Government Agencies To Schools To Individuals And Families, To Develop Their Own Pandemic Plans. This is essential for the resilience of communities and of the Nation. Much of the guidance necessary for this planning can be found on www.pandemicflu.gov.
 Due to ongoing scientific analysis and the need for additional consultation with public health, education, and faith and community based organizations, the due dates for 12 actions related to community containment were moved to February 1, 2007. Several of these actions have been completed, but may require revision upon the completion of the interim community containment guidance in December 2006. These 12 actions are not counted in this summary of progress implementing the Strategy.