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Most Cities, States Not Ready for Flu Pandemic

May 24, 2006
by Mimi Hall
USA Today

Most states and cities lack adequate plans to dole out drugs and respirators needed to combat a flu pandemic, leaving the nation with a critical gap in preparedness, public health officials say. The federal government has a stockpile of millions of doses of anti-flu drugs and thousands of respirators, but health advocates fear the medicine and equipment could languish in storage or on airport tarmacs during a devastating outbreak. "You can have all the Tamiflu and respirators in the world, but if you can't get them to the people who need them, they're not much good," says Kim Elliott of the non-profit Trust for America's Health. The pandemic-related drugs, such as the anti-viral medicine Tamiflu, are kept in the federal government's Strategic National Stockpile. The stockpile is a huge cache of vaccines, antidotes and medical supplies that can be used to respond to disease outbreaks, bioterrorism and other health emergencies.

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