HHS Updates Pandemic Influenza Plan

PUBLISHED: Aug 24, 2017
Relevant to: Ambulatory Care, Behavioral Health, Clinical Lab, Community Mental Health Centers, Critical Access Hospitals, Dialysis Facilities, Home Health, Hospice, Hospitals, Long Term Care, Medical Office, Pharmacy

In 2005, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) developed the HHS Pandemic Influenza Plan to prevent, control, and mitigate the effects of influenza viruses that pose high risk to humans. Influenza viruses, of which there are many types, can cause rapid, widespread disease and death. Pandemic influenza outbreaks in the 20th Century alone left tens of millions of people dead in their wake and cost hundreds of billions of dollars in lost lives, wages, productivity and economic devastation. Influenza viruses with pandemic potential require the rapid development, production and availability of medical countermeasures (MCMs) such as vaccines, diagnostics and antiviral drugs to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, as well as additional preparedness and response efforts beyond medical countermeasures.

HHS has made substantial progress in pandemic influenza preparedness since the 2005 Plan was released. In the current document, HHS reviews that progress, highlighting both the successes and remaining gaps in our preparedness and response activities for pandemic influenza. Most significantly, HHS efforts in pandemic influenza preparedness now are closely aligned with seasonal influenza activities, harnessing expanded surveillance, laboratory, vaccine, and antiviral drug resistance monitoring capacity. These activities are linked to efforts to communicate protective measures to the public and to help the health care system manage the demands of seasonal and potential pandemic influenza.

The 2017 Update builds upon goals elaborated in the 2005 Plan and, using evolving science and budget priorities, identifies domains, goals, objectives, and key actions to serve as planning guides for the next decade. The seven domains for 2017-2027 are:

  • Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Activities
  • Community Mitigation Measures
  • Medical Countermeasures
  • Health Care System Preparedness and Response Activities
  • Communications and Public Outreach
  • Scientific Infrastructure and Preparedness
  • Domestic and International Response Policy, Incident Management, and Global Partnerships and Capacity Building

A link to the updated Pandemic Influenza Plan is provided below. Also below is a link to MCN Healthcare’s Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Guide. This invaluable resource has over 50 example policies and procedures addressing Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations, Influenza Vaccination Program for Healthcare Staff, as well as Managing Influenza Outbreaks, Response to an Influx of Infectious Patients, Staff Training and associated infection prevention and control policies and procedures.

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