Dec. 4, 2019
Flu Preparedness Hearing Opens Opportunities for Vaccine, AMR Action
Today’s subcommittee hearing on U.S. preparedness and responses for the 2019-2020 flu season offers an important opportunity to examine and act on gaps and challenges exacerbating the public health threats of seasonal influenza outbreaks.
The administration’s executive order “Modernizing Influenza Vaccines in the United States to Promote National Security and Public Health,” would take essential steps to address some of these challenges and will require critically needed new federal resources that we urge Congress to supply. Support called for in the initiative to transition from egg-based to cell-based influenza vaccine platforms will lead to more targeted vaccines, decrease production time and can be hoped to increase vaccine confidence and uptake. IDSA supports the development of a National Influenza Vaccine Task Force, that includes input from all relevant agencies as well as nongovernmental input, and calls on Congress to ensure the research, development, workforce and public health measures it identifies are fully funded.
At the same time, comprehensive influenza preparedness must include attention to factors exacerbating the impacts of influenza outbreaks. Each year, secondary bacterial infections that include pneumonia become increasingly difficult to treat due to antibiotic resistance, and complicate significant numbers of influenza cases, leading to hospitalizations and deaths. Investments to address antibiotic resistance and support the research, development and continued availability of urgently needed new antibiotics are essential to effective responses to influenza outbreaks, as well as to the protection of public health throughout the year.
Following the closure of antibiotic producing companies in recent years research and development toward new antibiotics is in a state of crisis for which urgent action is essential. IDSA strongly urges support for new antimicrobial market stabilization and strengthening including through the swift passage of the Developing an Innovative Strategy for Antimicrobial Resistant Microorganisms -- DISARM – Act and novel incentives to provide a return on investment sufficient to drive antimicrobial innovation.