Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Keep washing those hands

“It may be that, given the size of this convention, that a couple of people are about to get sick from H1N1,” said Richard Schieber of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s H1N1 Community Mitigation Task Force.

Does that mean you should have been holed up in a hotel room the past few days instead of attending scientific sessions? Should you avoid airplanes because of an increased infection risk?

“Those are very good questions,” he told about 200 people gathered for a late-breaker session on H1N1 lessons learned on Wednesday morning.

Gee, thanks, Dr. Schieber.

What he and other CDC personnel did tell us was that the H1N1 flu pandemic has provided a lot of federal-level lessons to help guide public health practice in the future. And, as most of us know, it’s also been a bumpy ride.

This blogger is like a lot of frustrated parents out there. My 6-year-old son has asthma so is considered one of the 42 million people at highest priority for H1N1 vaccination. Only problem is, he wasn’t eligible for the nasal mist administered at his elementary school because he has asthma. His pediatrician hasn’t received any doses of the injectable vaccine.

His 9-year-old and 11-year-old sisters did get the nasal vaccine. So at least two of my three children are covered. Except the 9-year-old will need a second dose for what CDC officials consider a “robust immune response.” Anybody want to guess how likely it is that a second dose will be available anytime soon?

“We’ve done what we could to get the vaccine out quickly,” said Jay Butler, who leads CDC’s H1N1 Vaccine Task Force. “It’s still a trickle. We’re trying to make it faster, but it’s still a trickle. It’s absolutely maddening.”

Schieber did unveil a bit of good news during the session. Recent surveys show a majority of people are following infection-control advice on washing their hands regularly and avoiding touching their face. CDC plans a major flu communications blitz in airports starting Nov. 19.

Check the latest on the federal H1N1 and seasonal flu response and guidance at, and

— D.C.

1 comment:

Phil and Kristen said...

Wash you hands, save the world.