November 7, 2002
The State has received a letter from the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services
clarifying Hawaii’s current rating on bioterrorism planning for
the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile (NPS).
Governor Benjamin Cayetano said, "This reaffirms that Hawaii is well
prepared and could handle a bioterrorism event if it were to occur
today. There has been a great deal of progress in the last few months
and we continue to make strides in securing the state’s
"Department of Health staff and others have worked very diligently
over the past six months to assure that we are prepared," said Bruce
Anderson, Director of Health. "It was a disservice to all those
involved to use outdated information to suggest otherwise," he
Recent stories in the media have suggested that Hawaii is not
prepared for a bioterrorism event. An Associated Press story released
on November 1, 2002, placed Hawaii in the "red" rating area using a
traffic light metaphor and labeling the state as making little or no
progress. Information in the story was based on a May 2002 evaluation
of a work plan submitted over six months ago and is no longer valid.
The evaluation was solely based on planning for the NPS.
The attached message from Steven Bice, Director of the NPS program
at the CDC assures state officials that he has no doubt that Hawaii is
currently above the red range and that he was impressed with the
progress made here in the last six months. Bice visited the state in
October, met with State Health officials and saw first hand current
plans and improvements.
In June 2002, the Department of Health received an $8.4 million
federal grant to assist the state in building its public health and
emergency response systems. Since then, the DOH has expanded its
bioterrorism program ten-fold, increasing staff, resources, training,
and private/public partnerships. Additional staff includes a full-time
pharmacist dedicated to the planning and coordination of the NPS.
Further planning includes identification of NPS receiving and
dispensing sites on Oahu and the neighbor islands.
Official letter from CDC
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