Larsen Reintroduces Bill to Boost Federal Response to Seasonal and Pandemic Flu
Washington, D.C., September 29, 2023
Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) introduced the Protecting America from Seasonal and Pandemic Influenza Act (“The Influenza Act”) to bolster the federal response to seasonal and pandemic influenza. Reps. Deborah Ross (NC-02), Ami Bera (CA-07), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Ritchie Torres (NY- 15) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.-At-Large) signed on as original cosponsors of the bill.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) introduced the Protecting America from Seasonal and Pandemic Influenza Act (“The Influenza Act”) to bolster the federal response to seasonal and pandemic influenza.
Reps. Deborah Ross (NC-02), Ami Bera (CA-07), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Ritchie Torres (NY- 15) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.-At-Large) signed on as original cosponsors of the bill.
“Getting the flu can mean missed time with loved ones, lost time at work and school, and long-term health and financial consequences. Congress must make a strong investment in seasonal and pandemic flu infrastructure to keep people healthy and safe and ensure the country is prepared to tackle the next public health emergency,” said Larsen.
The Coalition to Stop Flu expressed its support for the Influenza Act.
“Seasonal influenza is perhaps our country’s most predictable, preventable public health crisis,” said former Senate Majority Leader and Chairman of the Coalition to Stop Flu Tom Daschle. “And right now, the world is experiencing the worst ever outbreak of avian influenza. More can, and must, be done to protect our nation’s health and economic prosperity. The Influenza Act provides commonsense solutions to improve our ability to prepare for and respond to seasonal and pandemic flu.”
For a video of Larsen and Daschle discussing the importance of the bill, click here.
What the Influenza Act Does
The Influenza Act would build on the National Influenza Vaccine Modernization Strategy, as well as lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, to increase access to vaccines and therapeutics, strengthen and diversify vaccine development, manufacturing and supply chains, and promote research and development of new technologies to detect, prevent and respond to flu. For a one-pager on the bill, click here.
Why the Influenza Act Matters
Often underestimated, seasonal and pandemic flu are real and enduring challenges to public health. During the 2022-2023 flu season, 262 people in Washington state died from flu – the deadliest flu season in five years. Nationwide, the CDC estimates as many as 640,000 flu hospitalizations and 57,000 flu deaths occurred between October 1, 2022, and April 29, 2023 – more than the number of Americans who died in motor vehicle accidents.
Larsen’s Actions to Combat Flu
Larsen is focused on ensuring communities in Washington state and across the country have the resources they need to keep people healthy and safe. Larsen supports prioritizing funding for seasonal and pandemic flu infrastructure. Last year, Larsen’s bill, the National Aviation Preparedness Plan Act, was signed into law to require the development of a national aviation preparedness plan for future public health emergencies.
Get Your Flu Shot!
The vaccine is the best protection against flu. Vaccination is particularly important for people who are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications, including young children and people over the age of 65. Visit vaccines.gov for more information and to find a flu vaccine location near you.