One day after hosting a summit on the 2009 novel H1N1 flu with representatives from state, tribal, territorial and local governments
from across the country, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced the availability of $350 million in grants to help states and
territories prepare for the 2009 novel H1N1 flu virus and the fall flu season.

The grants were funded by the recent supplemental appropriations bill that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama on June 24, 2009.

"With flu season around the corner, we must remain vigilant and do all we can to prepare our nation and protect public health," said Secretary Sebelius. "These grants will give states valuable resources to step up their flu preparedness efforts."

A total of $260 million in Public Health Emergency Response Grants and $90 million in Hospital Preparedness grants will be distributed nationwide.

Public Health Emergency Response grants help state public health departments perform a variety of functions, including preparing for
potential vaccination campaigns, implementing strategies to reduce people’s exposure to the 2009 novel H1N1 flu and improving influenza surveillance and investigations.

Hospital Preparedness grants enhance the ability of hospitals and health care systems to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies. Local outbreaks of the novel H1N1 virus have produced a surge of patients at hospitals, and these grants will help ensure hospitals are ready for future outbreaks that may impact their community.

In addition to the grants released today, the Obama Administration has taken a series of steps to help prepare and protect the American people from the novel H1N1 flu. In May of this year, HHS distributed 11 million treatment courses of antivirals to states, territories and tribes to fight the H1N1 influenza outbreak.  Also in May, HHS invested more than $1 billion to produce bulk supplies of key vaccine ingredients as part of the process to develop and test a potential H1N1 vaccine.

The Administration has upgraded and expanded, which includes guidance that community leaders and the American people need to prepare for, prevent, and respond to the H1N1 flu virus.

Source: HHS