FLU SERIES Lessons learned from this year’s vaccine crisis

first_img One aspect of such collaboration is clarifying legal and liability issues, said Ned Calonge, MD, MPH, chief medical officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Redistributing vaccine, for example, might go more smoothly if officials could clarify who pays whom and how, as well as what liability issues affect state law. See also: “We’re hopeful that one, two, or maybe more companies will be interested in selling [flu vaccine] in the US,” said Strikas. “Then, if one has a hiccup, one or more can step in.” April 8, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – The only thing more unpredictable than the fickle, fast-changing influenza virus may be the US flu season itself. Yet health experts who weathered this year’s vaccine shortfall, which began early in October with the news that Chiron Corp. couldn’t deliver nearly half of the expected US vaccine supply, have found the 2004-05 flu season instructive. The lessons they draw may prove helpful in managing future problems with supply and distribution and also in facing the possibility of pandemic influenza. Stearns County, about 70 miles northwest of the Twin Cities, did a fine job ensuring that people received vaccine through an effective local collaboration, said Ehresmann, adding that MDH is encouraging similar efforts throughout the state. Anticipating the worst: pandemic fluLast fall, Coloradoans conducted a mass vaccination clinic in a small area to measure the state’s ability to meet a mass vaccination target. It turned out to be one of the bright spots in the season, according to Calonge. Volunteers and ham radio operators helped coordinate the vaccine transfer among many counties. A daunting target vaccination rate proved more achievable than officials expected. In addition, the MDH is working to enhance communication among those involved in flu immunization, Ehresmann said. Her office is convening a statewide workgroup on flu that will allow state officials to consult directly with healthcare providers in groups that may be affected by changes in the disease or the vaccine supply. In addition, the department is encouraging creation of community coalitions. Shortage turns to surplusNearly half of the expected US flu vaccine supply disappeared last fall because of contamination problems at a Chiron Corp. plant in England. Eventually, the country obtained about 61 million doses of flu vaccine instead of the roughly 100 million doses expected earlier. “Partnership was a critical piece of what we did,” Strikas said. “There needs to be coordination, particularly while the product is in short supply.” Although some state and local public health departments reported instances when they physically held or transferred flu vaccine, simply knowing where the doses are is often more important than having them in hand, officials said. “We were really cautious—and rightly so—about supply, but we have always had vaccine that goes unused,” Ehresmann said. But the surplus suggests to her that MDH must “do the least restrictive limiting we can possibly do, so we don’t end up wasting vaccine,” she said. Multiple suppliers wantedHaving two companies—Chiron Corp. and Sanofi-Pasteur (formerly Aventis Pasteur)—provide the bulk of the nation’s flu vaccine doesn’t leave much room for handling problems, experts said. “We came away convinced that if we needed to use that process for pandemic flu, we could meet the vaccine requirement,” Calonge said.center_img “Both influenza disease and vaccine supply are unpredictable,” he told CIDRAP News. His list of lessons learned or reinforced this season highlights preparation: expect the unexpected, plan for many scenarios, be flexible, and be proactive. Despite the shortfall, good news was plentiful this flu season. It was only a moderate season, with illness peaking in mid-February, according to a CDC recap in this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). The season was milder for kids this year, with far lower hospitalization rates than in the previous season. And an estimated 17 million Americans refrained from getting a flu shot so that doses would go to high-risk people. Targeting those at greater risk from the flu proved effective, with vaccination rates for the high-risk groups hewing closely to the levels of previous years despite the reduced vaccine supply, MMWR reported March 31. It’s not clear how many leftover doses may be in the hands of individual providers or groups. Ehresmann estimated that the number is in the thousands. Doses are only good for one season because the combination of viral strains used in the vaccine is changed every year, so many of the remaining doses may go to waste. Web-based partnershipsVirtual vaccine distribution systems may be increasingly important to managing supply during a flu season. Think of it as a way for many people to communicate effectively about vaccine orders, manufacturers, and supplies even in the off-season. Health officials in Minnesota found the same thing, and are taking steps to formalize new relationships before the next flu season. Calonge, with Colorado, called the current system too risky. “It’s a more fragile system than I would like to see,” he said. In the end, the expected vaccine shortage turned into a surplus: 3 million doses, roughly the equivalent of the CDC stockpile, remains, Strikas said. In Minnesota, for instance, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is launching an Internet-based data collection tool, said Kristen Ehresmann, RN, MPH, manager of the department’s immunization, tuberculosis, and international health section. Local public health workers will be able to track vaccine orders by healthcare providers, such as hospitals and nursing homes, as well as by manufacturers. The information will be accessible online, so “we’ll go into the season knowing where people ordered from and how many doses they’re expecting,” Ehresmann said. Expecting the unexpectedFlu vaccine can take a lot of detours between the egg and the arm. That’s why flexibility is key, said Dr. Raymond Strikas, associate director for the adult immunization program at the National Immunization Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC. Estimated influenza vaccination coverage among adults and children—United States, September 1, 2004–January 31, 2005. MMWR 2005 Apr 1;54(12):304-7 [Full text] CDC. Update: Influenza activity—United States, 2004-05 season, April 8, 2005. MMWR 2005 Apr 8:54(13): 328-331 [Full text]last_img read more

New Zealand reports more COVID-19 cases ahead of lockdown decision

first_imgBloomfield dismissed suggestions by health experts it was likely the virus had been quietly spreading in Auckland for weeks, saying there was “very good evidence” that was not the case.”The nature of this outbreak shows how once you identify the first case you find quite a lot quite quickly,” he said. “We just wouldn’t have not found cases in community if it was lurking away in the community.”Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said late on Thursday that a quarantine facility breach had been identified as the source, but Hipkins said there was no evidence for that yet.The main opposition National Party has blasted the government, saying it failed to secure quarantine facilities and accusing it of withholding information about the latest outbreak.Economy worriesNew Zealanders celebrated when Ardern appeared to eliminate community transmission of the coronavirus with the earlier hard lockdown that forced almost everyone to stay at home.But opinion is divided on whether the 40-year-old leader should repeat that strategy, given its huge economic cost and mounting global evidence that the virus cannot be permanently suppressed.Westpac Banking Corp estimated the current level of lockdown measures in Auckland and the rest of New Zealand would cost the economy about NZ$300 million, or 0.5% of gross domestic product.Reserve Bank of New Zealand Deputy Governor Geoff Bascand told Reuters a sustained resurgence of the virus posed “a major risk” to the bank’s outlook, given its baseline scenario has an assumption that the virus is contained in the country.Ardern is expected to announce her decision on lockdown measures at 1730 local time (0530 GMT) after meeting with her cabinet and the release of the daily infection numbers.Topics : New Zealand’s first coronavirus outbreak in three months has spread further, officials reported on Friday, just hours before Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is due to announce whether a lockdown in the country’s biggest city will be extended.Officials reported 12 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, all linked to a now 30-strong cluster that was first detected in a family in Auckland two days ago. Officials believe an imported strain of the virus is responsible for the country’s first outbreak in three months, but are still investigating how the family was infected.Ardern, under pressure ahead of a general election next month, repeated her “go hard, go early” response to the pandemic this week, putting Auckland, home to about 1.7 million people, into lockdown and reinstating social distancing measures across the country. Ardern is due to announce later on Friday whether those measures will be extended, but there is growing concern that a repeat of the tough five-week lockdown she imposed earlier in the year could cripple the economy.Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said it was a positive sign that all the new confirmed cases were linked to the Auckland cluster, but noted two were recorded in Tokorua, in the neighboring Waikato region. Authorities had also identified one other probable case, Bloomfield said, in which connections still had to be traced.”We are not out of the woods yet,” he said during a televised news conference, adding that contact tracing and testing would continue at high levels in coming days.Health Minister Chris Hipkins said genome testing suggested the new virus outbreak had originated in Britain or Australia, but officials were still investigating how the family in Auckland contracted it.last_img read more

Syracuse drops final regular season game to Robert Morris, 4-2

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ It took 100 minutes and 21 seconds for Syracuse to find the back of the net this weekend against Robert Morris. And by the time it did, the Colonials were already cruising to their third blowout victory against the Orange this season.SU (10-21-3, 10-8-2 College Hockey America) conceded three second-period goals to RMU (15-13-6, 13-4-3) and never recovered, falling 4-2 in Colonials Arena on Saturday afternoon in its last regular season game of the season. The Colonials had already clinched the top spot in CHA on Friday, and they handed the Orange their second straight loss heading into the CHA Tournament starting next Wednesday.A scoreless first period saw SU create more chances toward the net. The Orange outshot the Colonials 12-4 in the frame and had 26 total shot attempts to just nine by RMU. In the second, Syracuse again had more shots, but Robert Morris struck thrice.Caitlyn Sadowy opened the scoring 3:20 into the middle frame. Then Leah Marino made it 2-0 just over halfway through the period. With under two minutes before the second intermission, Janey Sandoval added another RMU marker.On Friday, SU head coach Paul Flanagan pulled his starting goalie Ady Cohen after two periods because she gave up four goals on 19 shots. This time, Flanagan kept his starter, Maddi Welch, in for the third period. The senior made just 13 saves on 17 shots.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse kept hopes of a comeback alive with an early goal in the final frame. A puck from below the goal line came to Savannah Rennie on top of the crease, and she hacked at it. RMU goalie Lauren Bailey made the initial stop, but the rebound looped high in the air and landed behind her in the crease where Kristen Siermachesky jammed it home. The junior defender returned from an upper-body injury this weekend and tallied her first career goal in her 62nd game.The game settled into a lull with chances for both sides before Marino capitalized on a neutral zone turnover. She beat Logan Hicks, who started the season as a forward, for speed and roofed a wrist shot over Welch’s right shoulder, re-establishing RMU’s three-goal lead.Another Syracuse player, Amanda Backebo, earned her first career goal in her 84th game with the Orange. Victoria Klimek’s initial shot was kicked right to Backebo cutting in on the other side, and the goalie dove but couldn’t reach Backebo’s shot. It cut the lead to 4-2, which would remain for the rest of the game.Syracuse heads to the CHA Tournament as the No. 3 seed and is locked in to play against No. 6 seed Lindenwood on Wednesday at the Harborcenter in Buffalo with the time yet to be decided. The first quarterfinal starts at 4:30 p.m., and the second begins at 7:30 p.m. The Orange won’t face RMU again unless both teams make the championship game next Friday. Comments Published on March 2, 2019 at 6:38 pm Contact Arabdho: armajumd@syr.edu | @aromajumder last_img read more

Over US$104.8M Needed for UNMIL Drawdown

first_imgThe Senate Committee on Defense, Security, Intelligence & Veterans Affairs, has reported to Senate plenary that the proposed UNMIL drawdown plan developed by the Government of Liberia and UNMIL covering the three fiscal periods of 2015-2018 will cost US$104,848,878.45, an amount which it concedes the government cannot handle alone. The report recognizes the need to lobby with immediate effect the country’s international partners for assistance. In its recommendation contained in the report read yesterday, the 15-member committee, headed by Lofa County Senator Stephen J.H. Zargo, noted that the 2015/2016 budget period is crucial as it is the period prior to UNMIL June 2016 drawdown, and that “the aggregate cost for this period is US$76,188.89.” “We therefore instruct that the Minister of Justice and chairman of the joint security report to Defense Committee in two weeks, as of today’s date with a realistic and achievable budget for consideration for this budget period, taking into consideration what the Justice Minister considered County/Regional Hot/Trouble spot or high threat zone approach,” the committee said.The committee further reported that during its engagement with national security institutions, it was discovered that some of them contribute considerably to the national budget while others whose budgetary allotments are far more than others, do not contribute.A case in point, according to the committee, is the Bureau of Immigration & Naturalization which in 2013-2014 contributed over US$3M to the national budget while the Liberia National Police could not produce any record to suggest that it contributed to the budget under the same period. “Therefore, we recommend that we allot based in part on institution’s contribution to the budget and in part on its strategic contribution.”During discussions leading to the recommendation, Justice Minister Cllr. Benedict Sannoh, in his capacity as chairman of the joint security, informed the meeting that he had convinced President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to include the UNMIL drawdown plan in the Post Ebola Recovery Plan and called for political will on the part of government for the UNMIL drawdown plan to succeed.Justice Minister Sannoh during the discussion reportedly clarified that the Government of Liberia’s plan for UNMIL drawdown would remain public.For his part, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Cllr. H. Varney Sherman, whose committee formed part of the meeting, encouraged the national security authorities to sufficiently publicize their activities, while Grand Bassa County Senator Jonathan Kaipay, advised that documents relating to the drawdown be provided to the Defense Committee, totally or in segments, considering their relevance and significance.In the same vein, Bomi County Senator Morris Saytumah encouraged the security authorities and the Executive Branch of Government to submit their budget in a timely manner in order to give the Legislature ample time to review them for consideration, a view shared by Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel F. Naatehn; while the security advisor to President Sirleaf encouraged continuous engagement with the people and economic empowerment of the youth and former combatants.Dr. H. Boima Fahnbulleh underscored the need to allay the fears and negative perceptions of the Liberian people in the face of the UNMIL drawdown saying there was no looming anarchy nor was the Liberian state on the brink of failure resulting from the departure of UNMIL.  The committee’s report is the aftermath of its meeting with Liberia national security actors held April 7, in the Conference Room of the Senate Pro Tempore. In attendance were heads of all national security institutions, including the Liberia National Police, Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, Drugs Enforcement Agency, National Fire Service, Bureau of Correction and Rehabilitation, Armed Forces of Liberia, Ministers of Defense and Justice, and Security Advisor to the President of Liberia, among others.It may be recalled that last March, Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence informed her colleagues that unless some serious efforts were made to beef up the country’s national security prior to the conclusion of the UNMIL drawdown, the security of the country could be at risk, and therefore,  requested an urgent hearing in Executive session.The Grand Bassa lawmaker said such a meeting would require the participation of the heads of all security agencies, including the Defense Minister, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia, the Police Director and the Chief of Immigration. It was based on Senator Lawrence’s concern that her communication was sent to the Committees on Defense, Intelligence and Veterans’ Affairs, and Judiciary, with the option to do further consultations and report to plenary within two weeks.Meanwhile, the plenary yesterday thanked the committee for its timely intervention and meeting with national security actors, and unanimously voted to adopt the recommendations contained in the report.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more