Friday, November 09, 2007

Help make sure the nation is ready for pandemic flu

It's important that each and every one of us takes steps to prepare for pandemic flu. But what is the government doing to help? Quite a bit, actually. In fact, a few years ago, U.S. leaders released an ambitious plan that lays out the steps that the government- along with states, communities, businesses and families- should take to get ready for a flu pandemic. It's a wise start, but the plan needs more money.

Congress has already given the plan some funding, which is being used to stockpile drugs called "antivirals" that are used to help treat people with flu. Some is being used to store vaccines that would protect people against H5N1, the strain of bird flu that is causing concern around the world. And some of the money is also being used to increase our nation’s ability to make vaccines- which are all positive steps.

Unfortunately, not enough money is going to help states and communities prepare for a flu pandemic. Funding is especially needed to make sure that there are enough health workers on hand if a pandemic occurs and that hospitals have enough medical supplies and beds. That way, you, your family and your community will be protected. And isn't that what we all want?

You can help make sure that there is enough money in place to prepare the nation for pandemic flu. Let your legislator know you support preparedness and public health by contacting them via phone, e-mail or even old-fashioned snail mail. You could even go a step further and set up a meeting with your elected official and deliver your message face-to-face. Legislators are working on budgets now, so this is the time to make your voice heard!

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