HHS, DHS release pandemic vaccination guidelines

7/24/2008

WASHINGTON The homeland security and health and human services departments have released guidelines for allocating and targeting a pandemic influenza vaccine, they announced Wednesday.

The guidelines are meant to help community, local, state and Native American tribal leaders use vaccines to reduce the effects of a flu pandemic on public health and minimize social and economic disruptions.

“This guidance is the result of a deliberative democratic process,” HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said. “All interested parties took part in the dialogue.”

HHS, in preparation for the guidelines, held a series of meetings throughout the country, at which it was determined that four concerns were universal:

  • Protect persons critical to the pandemic response and who provide care for persons with pandemic illness
  • Protect persons who provide essential community services
  • Protect persons who are at high risk of infection because of their occupation and
  • Protect children 

Some experts fear that a deadly flu strain, such as the H5N1 strain of avian influenza, could mutate into a form easily passed between humans and cause a global pandemic.

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