Preparing for Flu Season and Preventing Another Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has largely dominated the infectious disease conversation over the past 18 months, including during the 2020-21 flu season, and offers important lessons for policymakers and health care professionals in pandemic preparedness. Influenza and COVID-19 are both respiratory infectious diseases and many of the policy gaps identified in our response to COVID-19 would also apply in an influenza pandemic. While the nation prepares for the 2021-22 flu season, one with less social restrictions and mitigation measures than the previous year, we must recognize the gravity of the flu and what policymakers can do to reduce deaths from flu in the future. Furthermore, as Congress considers legislation aimed at improving pandemic preparedness, the public health infrastructure, medical supply chain, and science and technology innovation, it is critical to understand how seasonal and pandemic influenza can be addressed using federal policy levers.

In this briefing, experts discussed how flu and the COVID-19 pandemic have intersected over the past 18 months and why we should also prioritize flu preparedness policy. Panelists also highlighted available federal policy levers and discuss policy strategies to improve our flu response. This event opened with a short fireside chat with former U.S. Senator Thomas A. Daschle, Chairman of the Coalition to Stop Flu.

Fireside Chat:

Speakers:

  • Jennifer Pool Miller, Treasurer, Families Fighting Flu
  • Anand Parekh, M.D., Chief Medical Advisor, Bipartisan Policy Center
  • Litjen (L.J.) Tan, MS, PhD, Chief Policy and Partnerships Officer Co-chair, National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit
  • Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., FIDSA, FACP, FACEP, Senior Scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (moderator)

This event was made possible with support from the Coalition to Stop Flu.