H1N1: Looking at the glass half full
Jan 07, 2010

By Amy Pisani
I wanted to bring everyone up to speed and report back on some excellent articles that I saw over the holidays. Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and president-elect of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, wrote a great opinion piece for msnbc.com that highlights five positive outcomes of the H1N1 influenza pandemic.  While there was a lot of negativity earlier in the season about flu vaccine shortages, it seems like the supply has increased to a point where most people are able to find the vaccine, and cases seem to be on the decline. While we don’t want to be too optimistic and say that the H1N1 pandemic is behind us, and we certainly don’t want to overlook the many deaths and illnesses that were suffered as a result of H1N1, I do think it is important to reflect on some of the positive outcomes that came of it. Here are some of the things that Dr. Schaffner lists:

  • Positive No. 1: By the end of 2009, our influenza enterprise will have supplied almost 200 million doses of flu vaccine in the U.S.
  • Positive outcome No. 2: We have the capacity to produce more vaccine than the American public usually demands.
  • Positive outcome No. 3: Public demand for vaccine is up this year — way up. Right now that means news reports of “shortages” as vaccine supply continues to roll out.
  • Positive No. 4: While manufacturers are private enterprises that need to consider profits, they’ve shown great flexibility and willingness to alter their plans and work to achieve goals established by our public health leaders.
  • Positive No. 5: Flu awareness has increased.

 I encourage you to read the full article here.


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