Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Live reporting - H1N1 Update

Board of Health - David E. McKearney, R.S.

over 1100 confirmed cases, with 11 fatalities in MA
shows an affinity for younger population, those 18 and younger

Have 2 viruses to worry about, (1) the regular seasonal flu and (2) the H1N1 virus

The seasonal flu vaccine will be made available earlier this year

Projecting to have initial does of the H1N1 vaccine here in MA in later October/early November
There will be designated distribution sites for the vaccine

The information available is fluid and changing, as soon as it is updated, it will be spread.

Some of the models for combating the virus are to vacinate the target population, the target population is itself changing. It usually includes the young, pregnant mothers, EMT's etc.

It currently does not include the Police Dept and that has raised some concerns.
Franklin has compiled a listing of medical professionals (over 40 thus far).
If we qualify, we could become a designated distribution site at no cost to the community.

Need to formulate the plan in detail (fire dept, school nurses, medical volunteers, etc.)

To hit the targeted school population (over 8000 including Tri-County and the Charter school). We could have a capacity of doing about 400 per hour. The one item we may not be able to control is the actual amount of vaccine we will receive.

Q - Since there have been very few deaths with this versus others, is there something they are not telling us?
A - I share your concern. The numbers don't tell much. However, mixing this virus into a larger population, along with the seasonal flu could mutate in ways we have not seen. There is a great deal of preparation on this. There is a lot of literature on this. We have been preparing for a pandemic for some time.

Q - Is there some place that medical professionals that they should register with.
A - We got a listing from the State a while ago, we sent out a mailing to all the known professionals. We did it a second time a couple of months ago. We yielded more in the second pass. They can reach out to us at the Board of Health. The information is available on the web site.

Q - Are you reaching out to the other Town departments to coordinate the effort.
A - Yes, we have been reaching out to all the departments with regular meetings. The Superintendent of Schools has been participating regularly. All the standard procedures (covering your cough, basic hand hygine, etc.)

Nutting - We have an emergency management team meeting regularly. We had discussed different items, hurricanes, other storms,and recently have been dealing with the H1N1. Maureen and her folks are all over this.

Q - Where do we actually get the vaccine?
A - The State gets it from the Federal level, then the State will distribute it locally. We are supposed to get plenty but if the distribution supply is interrupted, then things could change. We take direction from the Department of Public Health. It is a bit daunting but when you break it into bits, it becomes more manageable.

The vaccine is strictly voluntary. We are not mandating anything.

Q - How much testing is there being done? Is it safe?
A - I cdon't have a definite answer to that. It has been fast tracked. It is getting pilot studies with humans.

Q - If MA gets 2 million by November, will they use the one million and save the other one for the second round.
A - No, at this point they have been told to utilize the vaccine and not to hold it for the second pass.

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