Posted: March 9th, 2022

Pandemic and all Hazards Preparedness Act of 2006



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Pandemic and all Hazards Preparedness Act of 2006


The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act of 2006 (PAHPA), was put into place to advance the organization, course, and usefulness of preparedness efforts. PAHPA integrates federal tasks, necessitates state’s accountabilities, offers new national observation methods, attends to surge capacity, and aids in the development of vaccines and other limited resources. This act, however, also raises significant issues regarding federalism, evidence-based practice, privacy, volunteerism, and technological innovation (Hodge, Gostin & Vernick, 2007).


Building upon the Public Health Service Act, PAHPA seeks to make sure that national powers that be are prepared and well outfitted to respond to a catastrophic event. The act seeks to establish who is in charge by placing the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as the lead agency for federal public health and medical responses to all public health emergencies that are covered by the National Response Plan. In the past this would have been a function of the Department of Homeland Security. This symbolizes a major shift of federal authority for the public health works of emergency responses. “PAHPA acknowledges that inter-jurisdictional coordination is pivotal during emergencies, but does not specify how federal entities should align with tribal, state, and local governments” (Hodge, Gostin & Vernick, 2007).


Despite generalities on the need to organize national and local emergency responses, PAHPA’s extensive provisions in fact may allow federal authorities to seize traditional sub-national public health activities. PAHPA commands state and local governments, and other qualified entities like hospitals, laboratories and universities to generate and put into practice plans to improve public health preparedness and safety, consistent with quantifiable evidence-based benchmarks and objective standards developed by DHHS (Hodge, Gostin & Vernick, 2007).


PAHPA necessitates that the Government obtain, employ, and divulge accurate, significant health data in order to perceive or react to public health emergencies. PAHPA gives federal officials important judgment to gather and share personal health information without sufficient privacy safeguards. PAHPA does not substantively address privacy worries. The HIPAA Privacy Rule prohibits public health data collections from its protections. Other privacy laws supply a patchwork of protections for national public health data (Hodge, 2007).


National organization of interstate volunteer health professionals throughout emergencies assumes that the legal environment supports their deployment. Competent, registered health care professionals who volunteer to assist for humanitarian purposes deserve protection from liability. “During Hurricane Katrina, thousands of interstate and intrastate volunteer health personnel faced potential legal liability or other risks for their actions depending on the nature of their deployment, their existing employment, and varying laws. Whether real or perceived, the specter of liability hindered the deployment or minimized the utility of skilled volunteers” (Hodge, Gostin & Vernick, 2007).


PAHPA promises new initiatives for the rapid development of biological interventions like vaccines and drugs for highly pathogenic influenza or other health hazards. The act puts into place a new Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) within DHHS. BARDA is charged with accelerating the development of new products by fostering collaboration, supporting research, encouraging innovation, and offering technical guidance among governmental and private sector entities. By coordinating national efforts and removing some regulatory restraints, BARDA may support a schedule of countermeasures for biological, chemical, radiological, or nuclear threats but does not make sure there are sufficient economic incentives to stimulate maximum private sector participation (Hodge, Gostin & Vernick, 2007).




Hodge, J.G. (2007). Legal Forces in Public Health Surveillance. Retrieved from


Hodge, J.G., Gostin, L.O. & Vernick, J.S. (2007). The Pandemic and All-Hazards


Preparedness Act: Improving Public Health Emergency Response. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 297(15), p. 1708-1711.

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