With the H1N1 flu vaccination program now underway, I thought I would ask a public health expert — whose opinion I trust a great deal — what (if any) concerns he had about vaccine’s rollout to the public. I have reprinted his answer in its entirety as I found it useful in highlighting some issues to be looking at. Again, these are potential concerns, but are things to watch going forward:
“My biggest concerns as of the moment:
1) Concerned that a substantial portion of country may be infected before vaccine arrives — will depend on speed with which epidemic moves in next month, as well as speed with which vaccine can be delivered to states, as well as how fast states are able to get vaccine into people.
2) Concerned that large numbers of persons who could get vaccine will choose not to vaccine because of concerns that it is experimental or untested — great deal of misinformation out there on the streets. TheÂ Paul Offit editorial in [Monday's] New York Times describes many of the widely circulating beliefs about the vaccine and the actual facts. Poll about 2 weeks ago showed that while 60% of American parents willing to get their kids vaccinated for seasonal flu, only 40% were planning on their kids vaccinated for H1N1 â€“ even though almost all of the flu circulating now is H1N1.
3) Concerned that antiviral resistance could develop –so far there is no sustained neurominidase inhibitor resistant strain circulating, just single cases popping up and very rarely. If sustained resistance occurred, we would lose key tool for treating the sickest patients. It is good sign that no sustained resistance has developed so far, but it would be a non-linear event if it happened. No accepted view from the hard core flu virology community on the likelihood of this happening or not.”