Several weeks ago I wrote about CDCs outreach effort to ask American citizens what they would want in an H1N1 vaccination program. There are ten groups like this being held the month of August. One happened to be in Sacramento California, a mere 90 miles from my home so I signed up!
The meeting was conducted by the Keystone Center (http://www.keystone.org) and as described on their website there are a public policy group who convenes individuals to solve problems and advance good public policy through neutral, independently organized, and well-managed discussions. It was a thoughtful, neutral and educational session for the 100+ diverse individuals seated at the Sacrament convention center on a hot summer day.
The genesis of the session was one key question, “What type of implementation planning strategy should the U.S. adopt for vaccinating Americans against the novel H1N1 influenza virus? There were three options:
- “Go easy” approach
- Moderate effort approach
- “Full Throttle” approach
The day included education on influenza, reviews of what the three approaches would entail, small group discussions and then electronic voting on the different approaches.
The Federal government is buying the vaccine and then it will be administered as designated by the State and Local Public Health Departments. With most states and counties suffering in the economic downturn this is a major stumbling block. Regardless of which approach is selected funding will remain a huge issue. The following are some of the issues and concerns that were discussed:
- How much effort should be placed in getting people vaccinated?
- How many sites should we have?
- What is the speed for time it should take to vaccinate all eligible persons
- Fear of the unknown – what will happen in the fall?
- Is it mandatory? The answer is no!
- How to reach the many different groups – ethnic, religious, homeless, disenfranchised, etc.
- What is the best tool to communicate? We discussed from Facebook, Twitter, and all of the usual means
- There should be no barriers to vaccine administration – cost for many will be a big concern.
- How do you get people back for the second dose?
- How can vaccination sites be secured? Is that a concern?
- How to engage volunteers at these sites?
- How much disease surveillance should be done
A final report will be issued by the University of Nebraska at the conclusion of the final meeting – it will be available on line on the Keystone website.
More Options to Give Your Opinion
There are five more face-to-face sessions this month. Check out the site for locations and details.
There is also a web forum August 26-27 and August 31-September 1 that you can sign up for and participate in the comfort of your own home! If you have an opinion or wish to express yourself – sign up!