Influenza—the flu—remains a serious threat to global health. New strains with pandemic potential continue to emerge, making global preparedness fundamental to protecting the health and well-being of Americans, and the global economy. To save lives in the next pandemic, the U.S. Government (USG) is committed to preparedness and response efforts, including the development of new medical countermeasures – vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics– and implementation of policies, procedures, trainings, exercises, and plans.
What the Pandemic Team Does
The Office of Pandemics and Emerging Threats within the Office of Global Affairs leads HHS’s global diplomatic and policy engagement to prevent, detect, and respond to pandemic influenza. We coordinate with the White House National Security Council, the Department of State, and other Federal departments and agencies, non-governmental organizations, and global partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO), on policy and technical issues. We provide leadership and technical and policy analysis support for:
- The HHS Pandemic Influenza Plan and the HHS National Vaccine Plan.
- Increased global capacity for influenza vaccine manufacturing in developing countries.
- Implementation and review of the WHO Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework to improve and strengthen the sharing of influenza viruses with human pandemic potential and to increase the access of developing countries to vaccines and other supplies.
- WHO’s Global Action Plan for Influenza Vaccine (GAP), which aims to reduce the global shortage of influenza vaccines for seasonal epidemics and pandemic influenza in all countries.
- The Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction (PIVI), which aims to stimulate influenza vaccine interest and uptake in countries without seasonal influenza programs.
Key accomplishments of the Office of Pandemics and Emerging Threats include:
- Convening six influenza stakeholder workshops between 2010 and 2013, which brought together Ministers of Health, Ministers of Finance, manufacturers, regulators, and NGOs to address key elements of influenza vaccine manufacturing, including economic analysis, communication strategies, business modeling, regulatory capacity, workforce retention, and technology transfer.
- Developing a checklist, in collaboration with WHO, for policymakers and manufacturers to address gaps and opportunities for sustainable influenza vaccine manufacturing in the areas of policy, surveillance, product development and manufacturing, product approval and regulation, and communication to support vaccination programs.
- Supporting the development of the WHO Pandemic Influenza Risk Management Interim Guidance.
- Establishing and strengthening of the African Vaccine Manufacturers Initiative (AVMI), which promotes the establishment of sustainable vaccine manufacturing capacity in Africa through resource mobilization and skills capacity development, and promotion of the Developing Country Manufacturing Network (DCVMN), which provides a consistent and sustainable supply of quality, affordable vaccines to developing countries.
- Providing leadership of the logistical implementation of the U.S. donation of H1N1 pandemic influenza vaccine to WHO, in collaboration with the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, vaccine manufacturers, international transport companies, U.S. Agency for International Development, and Department of State.
- Providing support to the National Security Council Staff and White House for policy options for donation of H1N1 pandemic vaccine from the U.S. to WHO and for funding in response to the H7N9 Flash Appeal for Support for WHO.