Michigan to Receive Funding to Prepare for Novel H1N1 Influenza

Contact: James McCurtis (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

August 18, 2009

On July 10, the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the availability of $350 million in grants to help states and territories prepare for the 2009 H1N1 flu virus. The grants were funded by the recent supplemental appropriations bill that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama on June 24, 2009. A total of $260 million in Public Health Emergency Response Grants and $90 million in Hospital Preparedness grants are being distributed nationwide.

The grants help state and local public health departments perform a variety of functions, including preparing for potential vaccination campaigns, implementing strategies to reduce people's exposure to the 2009 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.

This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced availability of an additional $248 million in supplemental H1N1 funding under the new Public Health Emergency Response (PHER) grant program. Michigan will receive a total of $18.5 million from the grants.

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has multiple divisions planning for an increase in influenza this fall, including the Bureau of Epidemiology, the Bureau of Laboratories and the Office of Public Health Preparedness. "It is important that we have a coordinated federal, state, and local response, so we are holding statewide conference calls and meetings for local public health officials as we prepare for a novel H1N1 vaccination campaign," said Janet Olszewski, director of the MDCH.

Flu vaccine is one of the best ways to protect against the flu. There will be two different flu vaccines available this fall. Seasonal flu vaccine will be available soon. Novel H1N1 vaccine is expected to be available later this fall. Seasonal flu vaccine will not protect against novel H1N1 flu. Protect your family. Get your seasonal flu vaccine now and be prepared to get the Novel H1N1 vaccine as soon as it's available.

The flu is an infection of the nose, throat and lungs. It is spread by coughing, sneezing or talking. Most people are sick for about a week and then feel better. People with the flu develop a high fever, headache, dry cough, sore throat and achy muscles very quickly.

Public health officials will continue to emphasize the importance of promoting flu prevention: getting vaccinated, frequent hand washing with soap and water when possible, covering noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and staying home when sick.

All updates to provide Michigan residents with accurate and timely information about both seasonal and novel H1N1 Influenza are available at www.michigan.gov/flu.