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As H1N1 Vaccine Program Begins Public Roll-Out, Some Useful Articles And A Webinar

October 6th, 2009 · No Comments

With the start of H1N1 vaccine distribution yesterday, there were a number of useful articles (and one webinar) I thought I would post and excerpt:

* “Swine Flu Reaches An Anxious Nation” – (New York Times)

“The fear of swine flu is being compounded by new worries, this time among primary care doctors who say that they are swamped by calls from patients seeking the new vaccine, and that they are ill-prepared to cope with the nationwide drive to immunize everyone, particularly children and chronically ill adults.”

* “America Takes On Swine Flu” — Opinion (

“The roll-out of the swine flu vaccination program, one of the largest such drives in U.S. history, started Monday. The federal government has ordered 250 million doses of vaccine, which will be distributed by state health officials this fall.

Yet surveys have found that a large portion of the public is uncertain about getting the vaccine, either because of concerns about potential side effects or because they sense the health warnings about the H1N1 virus are overblown. At the same time, many doctors worry that they are ill-prepared to handle the nationwide drive to immunize everyone. We asked some doctors and public health experts, will such an ambitious immunization program work? What worries you most?”

David Ozonoff, epidemiologist, Boston University

Gregory Dworkin, pediatric pulmonologist

Robert Blendon, Harvard School of Public Health

Kevin Pho, primary care doctor

* “The 0.5 Pandemic. Relax. H1N1 is not going to be nearly as bad as you may have been led to believe…Unless …” — Cover story (New York)

“Despite the widespread outbreaks, the virus seems to have evolved—not genetically, but in the minds of public-health officials. What looked like a lethal miscreant in the spring looks a little different now—still capable of causing serious disease and rare deaths in vulnerable groups, like pregnant women and young children—but not the second coming of 1918’s global pandemic. Officials just hope it stays that way.”

* “The ‘Great Flu’ vs. Today’s” – Interview with author John Barry (Boston Globe) – [Thanks to Michael Coston for flagging this article and for all his work in this area.]

“Q. What’s similar and what’s different about the two pandemics?

A. The pattern in terms of spread seems to be like not only 1918 but pandemics in 1889, 1957, where there were sputters of intermittent outbreaks, sort of like you turn an engine over and it coughs, coughs, coughs before it catches fire. In 1918, there were hints all through the spring it could be something really nasty. But so far this year, we’ve not seen clusters where a lot of people in the same area have suffered severe illness or death.”

* And finally, the video of a recent webinar, “Social Media and Technology Breakthroughs: H1N1 and Seasonal Flu Communication,” is now available. The webinar was sponsored by the Center of Excellence for Risk and Crisis Communications at Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., American Public Health Association, International Association of Emergency Managers, and the National Association of Government Communicators.

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Tags: Media · Pandemic Flu

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