Sunday, July 12, 2009

White House preparing Nation for upcoming flu season

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan leading the efforts to prepare the Nation for coming flu season.

Fellow Americans: This spring we were confronted with an outbreak of a troubling flu virus called 2009-H1N1. As the fall flu season approaches, it is critical that we reinvigorate our preparedness efforts across the country in order to mitigate the effects of this virus on our communities.

Today, we are holding an H1N1 Influenza Preparedness Summit in conjunction with the White House to discuss our Nation's preparedness. We are working together to monitor the spread of 2009-H1N1 and to prepare to initiate a voluntary fall vaccination program against the 2009-H1N1 flu virus, assuming we have a safe vaccine and do not see changes in the virus that would render the vaccine ineffective.

But the most critical steps to mitigating the effects of 2009-H1N1 won't take place in Washington — they will take place in your homes, schools and community businesses.

Taking precautions for this fall's flu season is a responsibility we all share. Visit to make sure you are ready and learn how you can help promote public awareness.

We are making every effort to have a safe and effective vaccine available for distribution as soon as possible, but our current estimate is that it won't be ready before mid-October. This makes individual prevention even more critical. Wash your hands regularly. Take the necessary precautions to stay healthy and if you do get sick, stay home from work or school.

We are doing everything possible to prepare for the fall flu season and encourage all Americans to do the same — this is a shared responsibility and now is the time to prepare. Please visit to learn what steps you can take to prepare and do your part to mitigate the effects of H1N1.

Take Care,
Kathleen, Janet and Arne

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Alaskan native villages to receive $27.9 million in Recovery Act Funds to improve water services

Seattle, Wash. – Nearly 30 Native Villages in Alaska will receive $27.9 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for improved access to vital water services.

It’s part of the $90 million nationwide Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Health, and Human Service’s Indian Health Service are directing to infrastructure projects designed to better protect human and environmental health in Indian country and Alaska’s native villages.

“This infusion of funds is very important for our tribal communities,” said Michelle Pirzadeh, EPA’s acting Regional Administrator in Seattle. “This work is part of our commitment and trust responsibility to provide clean drinking water and healthy sanitation to tribal families.”

These funds will bring much needed drinking water and sanitation improvements to more than 3,200 families in some of Alaska’s most remote areas. Many of these households are in great need of modernized infrastructure to ensure clean drinking water and improved wastewater systems that are protective of people’s health and the environment.

EPA and IHS identified 95 wastewater and 64 drinking water priority projects to be completed by IHS’s Sanitation Facilities Construction Program through EPA Recovery Act funds. The projects exceed the Recovery Act requirement that 20 percent of funding is used for green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency improvements and other environmentally innovative projects.

When President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 February 17, 2009, he directed the Act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To that end, the American people can see how every dollar is being invested at Adapted from EPA press release July 9, 2009.