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AUCD - H1N1 Update: Issues for People with Disabilities

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 8:00 am - 8:45 am

Location: Meeting Room 3

Session Description

The recent emergence of the H1N1 virus has presented a major public health challenge.  As with many public health situations, special attention must be paid to people with disabilities, who might otherwise be overlooked in the public health response.  CDC's H1N1 Disability Team has focused on adults with disabilities.  Through a series of needs-sensing activities, the following major issues have been identified and are currently being addressed within CDC's Influenza Coordination Unit.

  • CDC's Take3 message needs to be shaped for people with impairments/disabilities.
  • Priority groups for H1N1 vaccination include all people under 24 and those 24-65 years with chronic medical conditions, including 'cognitive' and 'neurological/ neuromuscular'.  Guidance is sufficiently broad to be inclusive, but decision-making at state level could narrow this and exclude some people with mild impairments.  Click here for more information on this and the next bullet point.
  • Caregivers (personal care attendants, family members, other paraprofessionals) working in community settings need to be explicitly included under 'health care personnel' in order to be recognized by state vaccine administrators as being in the top priority group for H1N1 vaccination.

Meaningful and successful outreach H1N1 vaccination efforts need to be established in most states to effectively reach hard-to-reach people.  All need to know how vaccines will be distributed to providers from the state immunization offices and how this compares/contrasts with current strategies for seasonal flu vaccination.

Featured Presenter(s)

Mark E. Swanson, MD, MPH; Senior Medical Adviser, Lead Subject Matter Expert for Disability Team; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Atlanta, GA