Udall, Bennet Announce New Resources to Help Colorado Prepare for H1N1, Seasonal Flu

Over $5 Million Available to Protect Public Health, Prepare for Novel H1N1 and Seasonal Flu

U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet today announced the availability of $5,470,974 in grants to help Colorado prepare for the 2009 novel H1N1 flu virus and the fall flu season. The grants were funded by the recent supplemental appropriations bill that was passed by Congress and signed into law on June 24, 2009.

"The outbreaks of H1N1 virus in Colorado and around the world have underscored the importance of being prepared," Senator Udall said. "As we continue to monitor the cases at the Air Force Academy and elsewhere, I am very pleased that grants to help with flu preparedness are on their way to Colorado. I supported this funding, which will enable Colorado hospitals and public health officials to step up flu prevention and response efforts."

"With flu season soon approaching, we need to do all we can to protect public health and make sure Colorado is fully prepared," said Bennet. "These funds will help communities and hospitals step up their flu preparedness efforts and make sure Colorado has all the pieces in place to fight the flu - in all its forms - and protect public health."

Colorado is eligible to receive $4,066,256 in Public Health Emergency Response grants and $1,404,718 in Hospital Preparedness grants. A total of $260 million in Public Health Emergency Response Grants and $90 million in Hospital Preparedness grants will be distributed nationwide.

Public Health Emergency Response grants help state public health departments perform a variety of functions, including preparing for potential vaccination campaigns, implementing strategies to reduce people's exposure to the 2009 novel H1N1 flu and improving influenza surveillance and investigations.

Hospital Preparedness grants enhance the ability of hospitals and health care systems to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies. Local outbreaks of the novel H1N1 virus have produced a surge of patients at hospitals, and these grants will help ensure hospitals are ready for future outbreaks that may impact their community.

In addition to the grants released today, a series have already been taken to help prepare and protect the American people from the novel H1N1 flu. In May of this year, HHS distributed 11 million treatment courses of antivirals to states, territories and tribes to fight the H1N1 influenza outbreak. Also in May, HHS invested more than $1 billion to produce bulk supplies of key vaccine ingredients as part of the process to develop and test a potential H1N1 vaccine.

For guidance on how to prepare for, prevent and respond to the H1N1 flu virus, please visit www.flu.gov.