WASHINGTON, DC – Bipartisan leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee today sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell as the committee continues its oversight of the U.S. public health response to the seasonal influenza. The leaders are seeking documents regarding the administration’s lessons learned from the previous flu season as well as documents detailing preparedness efforts for the upcoming season.
The letter reads, “The mismatched seasonal influenza vaccine and the high death rate among the elderly and other high-risk populations in the U.S. during the 2014-2015 influenza season highlight the need for an improved response, including making seasonal influenza vaccines more effective and promptly available. We believe understanding the lessons from the 2014-2015 influenza season could improve the U.S. public health response in the future and possibly save thousands of lives. We write to seek further information on HHS’s current preparedness efforts for the 2015-2016 influenza season, and to work with you to improve the nation’s response to seasonal influenza.”
The letter was signed by Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO).
In February, in the midst of a particularly bad flu season, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing to discuss the federal response efforts.
Read the complete letter online HERE. The leaders are also attaching responses the committee has received from HHS and other agencies to earlier committee letters on this issue. Read those online HERE.