Brooks: Increasing Our Nation’s Preparedness for Pandemics and All Hazards is Critically Important
WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, the Alliance for Biosecurity hosted Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dr. Robert Kadlec, and the Director of the Biomedical Advances Research and Development Authority Dr. Rick Bright for a discussion with members of the Congressional Biodefense Caucus about our biosecurity preparedness and ensuring the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2018 (PAHPA) is signed into law this year. Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (IN-05) and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (CA-18) co-founded the Congressional Biodefense Caucus in order to educate their colleagues as they worked on drafting PAHPA.
Secretary Azar spoke to attendees and explained the biodefense threat he worries the most about is pandemic influenza. The House-passed PAHPA bill Brooks and Eshoo drafted authorizes $250 million for research and development of medical countermeasures to combat pandemic influenza. Secretary Azar also discussed the National Biodefense Strategy and the Administration’s view going forward and how they will continue the partnerships with industry that have helped us ensure our nation’s preparedness for threats.
“It is because of the partnerships and relationships made between the public and private sectors we can work together to keep America safe from pandemic, biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear threats,” said Brooks. “Congress must get the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2018 signed into law this year because it ensures our health care professionals are trained to respond to possible pandemic outbreaks, prioritizes the further development of our national stockpile of vaccines, medical equipment and diagnostics, and establishes new advisory groups focused on protecting vulnerable populations such as senior citizens and people with disabilities during public health threats and emergencies. I’m proud to have worked in the House with my colleagues, especially Congresswoman Eshoo, to pass this comprehensive bill, and hope my colleagues in the Senate work swiftly to do the same.”
Brooks and Eshoo also established the Congressional Biodefense Caucus this Congress. The Caucus serves as a platform to educate Members of Congress and their staff on the very real threats our nation faces from a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack or pandemic outbreak. It also aims to identify the existing gaps in our preparedness and response capabilities.