Brooks voices support for president’s executive order to improve flu vaccines
U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) applauded the Sept. 19 executive order issued by the president to update influenza vaccines, which during the 2017–2018 flu season prevented roughly 7.1 million illnesses, 3.7 million medical visits, and 109,000 hospitalizations, according to the White House.
“I am proud this executive order further solidifies our commitment to better prepare Americans across the country with influenza vaccines that could save their lives,” Rep. Brooks said. “Although the development of vaccines and drugs is a challenging process, our current vaccines are based on significantly outdated research and it is critically important we take action to modernize our influenza vaccines in this country.”
The executive order follows enactment in June of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act (PAHPA) of 2019, a bipartisan public health and national security law championed by Rep. Brooks and U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) that, among numerous provisions, calls for the establishment of a Pandemic Influenza Program.
Likewise, the president’s executive order will establish a task force to identify policy priorities and monitor progress for improving the speed of vaccine production; advancing the development of new, more effective vaccines; and increasing Americans’ access to vaccines by reducing barriers to seasonal flu vaccine services, according to the White House.
“I applaud the establishment of the National Influenza Vaccine Task Force [that] will be focused on implementing updates to our influenza vaccine enterprise so that it is highly responsible, flexible, scalable and more effective at preventing the spread of flu viruses,” said Rep. Brooks.
PAHPA authorizes $250 million for the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) to address threats like pandemic influenza, directing the ASPR to increase manufacturing capacity and stockpile medical countermeasures, according to Rep. Brooks’ office.
“It has been over 100 years since the 1918 pandemic influenza killed millions of people around the world and 675,000 people here in the United States,” Rep. Brooks said. “This flu season, more than 50 Hoosiers lost their lives because of the seasonal flu.”