United States Government

Governments, communities, and other public and private sector stakeholders need to anticipate and prepare for a pandemic by defining roles and responsibilities and developing continuity of operations plans.

The Health and Human Services (HHS) Pandemic Influenza Plan serves as a blueprint for all HHS pandemic influenza preparedness and response planning.

Part 1, the Strategic Plan, describes a coordinated public health and medical care strategy to prepare for, and begin responding to, an influenza pandemic. It outlines federal plans and preparation for public health and medical support in the event of a pandemic. It identifies key roles of HHS and its agencies in a pandemic and provides planning assumptions for federal, state and local governments and public health operations plans.

Part 2, Public Health Guidance for State and Local Partners provides guidance on specific aspects of pandemic influenza planning and response for the development of state and local preparedness plans in 11 key areas.

Parts 1 and 2 will be regularly updated and refined. These documents will serve as tools for continued engagement with stakeholders, state and local partners.

Part 3, which is currently under development, will consist of HHS Agencies’ Operational Plans. Each HHS component will prepare, maintain, update and exercise an operational plan that itemizes their specific roles and responsibilities in the event of a pandemic. These individual plans will also include detailed continuity of operations plans such as strategies for ensuring that critical everyday functions of each operating division are identified and maintained in the presence of the expected decreased staffing levels of a pandemic event. In addition to operations, these plans will elaborate on coordination, command and control, logistics, and planning, as well as financial and administration considerations.

Recognizing that an influenza pandemic has the capacity to cause disruptions across all levels of governments and in all communities, pandemic influenza preparedness is a shared responsibility. The following list includes some of the additional plans that will be required to mitigate the impact of a pandemic and to ensure continuity of essential services:

  • International and Global Planning
    Every nation should develop comprehensive strategies and contingency plans for a global pandemic. These plans should be coordinated regionally and at the global level. The opportunity to contain an initial outbreak can only be realized in the presence of a sophisticated global strategy.
  • National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza
    The National Strategy provides a framework for future U.S. Government planning efforts. It acknowledges that the Nation must have a system of plans at all levels of government and in all sectors outside of government, that can be integrated to address the pandemic threat.
  • State and Local Pandemic Influenza Plans
    These plans should detail how health departments and other agencies of state and local governments and tribal nations will prevent, mitigate, respond and recover from an influenza pandemic. They should be community specific where appropriate and should contemplate specific local and community needs.
  • Corporate, Infrastructure and Critical Service Provider Plans
    School systems, hospitals, healthcare providers, community infrastructure providers and employers should develop plans that identify how they will respond in the event of an influenza pandemic.

All plans should remain living documents. They should be updated periodically in the time before, during, and after a pandemic. All plans should be exercised to identify weaknesses and promote effective implementation. Pandemic influenza response can be optimized by effectively engaging stakeholders during all phases of pandemic planning and response.

For more information see: