The Surprising Influenza H1N1 Pandemic, Waves I and II: The Race To Vaccinate

Sunday, February 20, 2011: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
145A (Washington Convention Center )
The influenza H1N1 pandemic that started in spring 2009 posed many challenges to the international scientific community and policy-makers. Providing good information to the general public was also essential. This session focuses on two key issues. The first is the World Health Organization's decision to declare a pandemic. The second was the decision to move forward with producing a vaccine for the pandemic influenza H1N1 strain. A timeline of the unfolding events will provide a backdrop. What was the science telling us at the time? Who were the players? The session presents different points of view. First, the scientific community including mathematical and statistical modelers were pulling in and analyzing the data. The intent was to understand the dynamics of the pandemic and implications of different vaccination strategies to push forward the best policy. The policy-makers were pulling together information from various sources, including the vaccine manufacturers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the statistical and mathematical modelers, and local, national, and international public health organizations. Science reporters were gathering information from various sources to tell the story to keep the general public informed. In the end, the pandemic H1N1 vaccine was available too late to have much effect on the fall 2009 wave of pandemic H1N1 influenza. This session will examine the combination of forces that led to this result and consider implications for the future. Each talk will consider the current situation.
M. Elizabeth Halloran, University of Washington
M. Elizabeth Halloran, University of Washington
Irene Anne Eckstrand, National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Ira M. Longini Jr., University of Washington
View from Science and Modeling
Robin A. Robinson, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
View from Making Policy
Richard Knox, National Public Radio
View from the Reporter: Compiling and Telling the Story
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