HHS to share $225 million for pandemic readiness

Editor's note: This story was expanded Jul 13 to include additional information on how the HHS funds can be used and when they will be awarded.

Jul 11, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The federal government today announced plans to distribute $225 million to states for pandemic influenza preparedness, the second round of grants for that purpose this year.

The money will be apportioned to all 50 states, four urban areas—New York, Chicago, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles County—and US territories, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a news release.

The money comes from $350 million in emergency money passed by Congress in December, HHS officials said. In January the agency announced it would pass out $100 million in the first round of grants from that appropriation.

Congress approved $3.8 billion in funds for pandemic preparedness in December, in response to President Bush's request last fall for $7.1 billion. Lawmakers authorized another $2.3 billion in June.

The $100 million in grants announced in January was intended to help states prepare and test pandemic response plans and identify gaps in preparedness, HHS said. The $225 million is to be used to begin addressing the gaps, the agency said.

For some examples of how the money will be used, states will plan and test how they will make decisions about school closings, manage bans on public gatherings, and run mass clinics to give vaccinations or dispense antiviral drugs, according to Von Roebuck, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC is administering the grants.

States and other jurisdictions are currently receiving guidance from the CDC, and they are required to submit a plan for how they will use the money in line with the guidance, Roebuck told CIDRAP News.

"August 31 is when their information is due back to us, and that's also the award date for the funding," he said. "What we're asking for is a plan for how they're going to use the money, but the availability is almost immediate in August."

In announcing the grants, HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt referred to the pandemic flu "summit meetings" he attended around the country earlier this year. "These funds will build on the work begun at the summits and help local, tribal, territorial and state public health officials as they undertake critical preparedness planning that communities must do themselves," he said.

The new grants range from $832,392 for Wyoming to $17.6 million for California. Amounts for the urban areas range from $859,299 for Washington, DC, to $6.98 million for Los Angeles County.

See also:

Jul 11 HHS news release
http://archive.hhs.gov/news/press/2006pres/20060711.html

HHS table of grant amounts

http://www.pandemicflu.gov/news/allocation.html

Jan 12, 2006, CIDRAP News story "States to share $100 million for pandemic planning"

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