posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 10:56 AM
Dear Commissioners, School Board Members, Mr. Herr, Dr. McKinzie and County School & Emergency Management Staff,
The Federal Health & Human Services Department (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) have advised public health agencies across
the nation to begin planning for a national H1N1 vaccination campaign this fall. In addition, local health departments will continue surveillance and
response efforts that have been in place since April when the new flu virus was first discovered.
Although this new flu virus has caused mild illnesses, it may strengthen or become more widespread in the fall of this year. Thus far we have
confirmed over 3 dozen cases with no large clusters. Other parts of Florida are still dealing with sporadic clusters and rare severe illness in those
with asthma, heart disease or other chronic condition. But for our planning purposes, even "mild flu" can keep people out of work or school for
days while seriously sickening those with chronic disease. Absenteeism in large numbers could impact daily operations of many enterprises such as
hospitals, schools, government, and other businesses. Community reactions to perceived risks can also impact these same entities.
Here's what we know at the moment:
-Each person wishing to be protected will need 2 vaccinations (needle injections) over a 21 to 28 day period
-We anticipate a start time of mid-October for priority groups (first responders & healthcare workers) (Family members of priority groups are not
included at this time)
-Expect other groups to begin getting vaccines starting in mid-November or earlier
-Only those who wish to obtain the vaccine will get it - it's not mandatory for anyone
-School-aged children may be a priority group - the HHS Secretary is working now to encourage School Boards across the nation to consider the best
methods to protect their students this fall
-Vaccination campaign could continue into February 2010
-Current plans call for the vaccine & needles to be FREE of charge
-Current plans call for local public health agencies to control the vaccine and how / where / when it's distributed
-The Polk County Health Department is already working with hospitals and other organizations around the county on plans to vaccinate their staff &
-We'll reach out to major employers to engage their assistance & participation as well
-Staffing will be a major issue in addition to the logistics of training, site preparation, partnership development.
-Exact locations where these vaccination sites will be is also an open issue. We're expected to have these sites identified and a law enforcement
survey completed by July 30th.
-Storage is another unanswered question - our existing capacity is far below what's needed. We're looking for refrigerated storage that's
securable with a temperature range of 35 to 46 Deg F.
-Security of vaccine supplies, at vaccination sites, and traffic control around those sites will likely require law enforcement involvement.
Bottom Line - this represents a situation where every county & municipal government agency will need to work closely together for the welfare of our
Thanks for your help and please call if you have any questions.
Daniel Haight, MD
Director, Polk County Health Department
Associate Professor, University of South Florida
Division of Infectious Diseases and International Medicine
Co-Chair, Health and Medical Committee of the Tampa Bay Regional Domestic Security Task Force
863 519 7900 ext 1001
863 412 5156 cell
[edit on 7-7-2009 by BornPatriot]