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USA - Secretary Sebelius Addresses 2010 Public Health Preparedness Summit

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  • USA - Secretary Sebelius Addresses 2010 Public Health Preparedness Summit

    Secretary Sebelius Addresses 2010 Public Health Preparedness Summit

    February 16, 2010
    U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius spoke at the 2010 Public Health Preparedness Summit today about the lessons learned so far from the response to the H1N1 flu pandemic and efforts to strengthen health preparedness. The summit was coordinated by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) in collaboration with federal, state, and local partners in public health.
    At the summit, Secretary Sebelius discussed the investments in health preparedness that helped the U.S. Government mount an aggressive and coordinated response to the novel H1N1 flu virus that was discovered in April 2009.

    ?When the H1N1 flu hit in April, preparation paid off,? said Secretary Sebelius. ?Working with partners in government, industry, and around the world, we rapidly characterized the virus, developed a candidate vaccine, made sure it was safe, and began production. By acting quickly, we made the first doses of the vaccine available in October, less than six months after the flu was identified.?

    Secretary Sebelius commended state and local partners for their role in the response to the H1N1 flu pandemic and emphasized that the flu is unpredictable and we should remain vigilant and continue to encourage Americans to get vaccinated.

    ?The H1N1 flu is still circulating and is still a dangerous disease,? said Secretary Sebelius. ?Like the cross country racers competing in Vancouver, we need to lean into the finish line and make sure we finish the job.?

    The Secretary also emphasized the critical role that strong state, local, and federal partnerships have played in the H1N1 flu response.

    ?This combination of preparation and partnership has allowed us to have a successful response to the H1N1 flu so far. We need to build on these successes as we battle both seasonal flu and the next public health crisis.?

    The Secretary also talked about ongoing efforts to strengthen preparedness and response so America can meet any future challenges.

    The Secretary has asked the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response to lead comprehensive review of our public health countermeasures enterprise that will be completed by the end of this quarter. The goal of the review is to have a modernized countermeasure process that allows us to respond to any threat as quickly and effectively.

    ?The threats we face are always evolving, so our defenses must evolve, too,? said Secretary Sebelius. ?We want to create a system that can respond to any threat as quickly as possible. The kind of system that is so dependable and comprehensive that it deters potential bioterrorism attacks and makes our enemies say, ?It?s not worth the effort.? And when it comes to the next pandemic from Mother Nature, we want to be able to develop, produce, and deliver a vaccine within weeks?not months.?

    Click here to read the full speech.