Rep. Brooks applauds effort to modernize flu vaccine manufacturing before flu season
Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-Ind.-05) provided the following statement after the Trump Administration’s announcement of an executive order to modernize influenza vaccines:
“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. During the 2018-2019 flu season, more than 50 Hoosiers lost their lives because of the seasonal flu. 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the development of vaccines and drugs is a challenging process, our current vaccines are based on significantly outdated research and it is critically important we take action to modernize our influenza vaccines in this country.
“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. Specifically, I applaud the establishment of the National Influenza Vaccine Task Force who 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.”
The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2019 (PAHPA) is a bipartisan public health and national security effort lead by Brooks and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) that ensures our nation is prepared to respond to public health emergencies, including natural disasters like hurricanes, emerging infectious diseases, and chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attacks whether from terrorist groups or from nation states.
This effort ensures our preparedness and response capabilities will include a robust pipeline of medical countermeasures by reauthorizing and increasing funding for the BioShield Special Reserve Fund and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) whose work over the last decade has resulted in FDA approvals for more than 42 different medical countermeasures.
Importantly, PAHPA establishes a Pandemic Influenza Program as well as an Emerging Infectious Diseases Program at BARDA to deal with known and unknown threats. Research funded by BARDA has already significantly expanded our domestic vaccine production capacity from the ability to produce just 60 million doses of antigen for influenza to the ability to produce more than 600 million doses.
Importantly, PAHPA authorizes $250 million for the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (the ASPR) to address threats like pandemic influenza. Specifically, PAHPA directs the ASPR to work to increase manufacturing capacity and stockpile medical countermeasures. While PAHPA authorizes funding for research into known threats like pandemic influenza, it also maintains the flexibility that is the foundation of our medical countermeasure enterprise to deal with unknown threats for which we may have no defense today.