The world has seen multiple pandemics of influenza over the centuries. The 20th century saw three, while there was one in the early years of the 21st century, the H1N1 pandemic influenza of 2009. While there are several types and subtypes of the influenza virus, only type A has produced pandemics in the human population. Although the timing of the next influenza pandemic cannot be predicted, preparations can be put in place to respond efficiently to one when it is declared to minimize the impact. As such, guidance has been developed by the World Health Organization for its members in their implementation of preparedness plans. Canada’s most recent influenza preparedness plan was published in 2018. While the Public Health Agency of Canada plays a central role in Canada’s pandemic influenza plan, preparedness involves collaboration at all levels of government of this country as well as internationally. Lessons learned from Canada’s response to the non-influenza COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent changes made to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s pandemic preparedness infrastructure will have an impact on how Canada responds to the next influenza pandemic.
Read the full text of the HillStudy: Pandemic Influenza
By Sonya Norris and Norah Kielland, Library of Parliament