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Obama designates $2.7B in H1N1 flu funds

President Barack Obama, joined by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, speaks on the H1N1 flu virus after receiving a briefing at White House in Washington on September 1, 2009. UPI/Kevin Dietsch
President Barack Obama, joined by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, speaks on the H1N1 flu virus after receiving a briefing at White House in Washington on September 1, 2009. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama designated another $2.7 billion to support federal efforts to combat the expected H1N1 flu outbreak this fall, the White House said.

The funds are designated to support the departments of Agriculture, Defense, Health and Human Services, State and Veterans Affairs "to support the procurement of vaccine product and supplies, antiviral medications, preparation for a vaccination campaign and agency preparedness activities," Obama said in a letter sent Wednesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California.

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"There continues to be much uncertainty about the severity of the outbreak this fall during the northern hemisphere flu season," Obama said.

Within the already approved supplemental appropriations act, Congress included a $5.8 billion contingent appropriation for a flu pandemic. In July, Obama designated $1.8 billion of the contingency funds to address critical needs related to emerging flu viruses, specifically the H1N1 virus, formerly known as swine flu.

Obama noted a vaccine is under development and being tested for safety and efficacy.

"Results from the clinical trials," he said, "along with the latest information regarding the evolution of the 2009-H1N1 virus and the worldwide outbreaks, will inform our decisions regarding the national response."

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