The 2009 H1N1 pandemic stimulated a nationwide response that included a mass vaccination effort coordinated at the federal, state, and local levels. This article examines a sampling of state and local efforts during the pandemic in order to better prepare for future public health emergencies involving mass distribution, dispensing, and administration of medical countermeasures. In this analysis, the authors interviewed national, state, and local leaders to gain a better understanding of the accomplishments and challenges of H1N1 vaccination programs during the 2009-10 influenza season. State and local health departments distributed and administered H1N1 vaccine using a combination of public and private efforts. Challenges encountered during the vaccination campaign included the supply of and demand for vaccine, prioritization strategies, and local logistics. To improve the response capabilities to deal with infectious disease emergencies, the authors recommend investing in technologies that will assure a more timely availability of the needed quantities of vaccine, developing local public health capacity and relationships with healthcare providers, and enhancing federal support of state and local activities. The authors support in principle the CDC recommendation to vaccinate annually all Americans over 6 months of age against seasonal influenza to establish a standard of practice on which to expand the ability to vaccinate during a pandemic. However, expanding seasonal influenza vaccination efforts will be an expensive and long-term investment that will need to be weighed against anticipated benefits and other public health needs. Such investments in public health infrastructure could be important for building capacity and practice for distributing, dispensing, and administering countermeasures in response to a future pandemic or biological weapons attack.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law