Over 1400 Turn Out for H1N1 Influenza Preparedness Summit
Over 1400 persons attended the state's H1N1 Summit on Friday at the Augusta Civic Center to be better prepared for an anticipated increase in cases of the flu this fall. Advertised as, Promoting vigilance, preparation, and a shared responsibility to mitigate the effects of H1N1 and to offer H1N1 vaccine to all people in Maine later this year, the program was kicked off by Dora Anne Mills, M.D., MPH, State Health Officer and Director of the Maine CDC and Governor John E. Baldacci.
A general theme of the day-long conference was that is better to be safe than sorry. Attendees included physicians, other health caregivers, teachers, municipal officials, emergency providers, nurses, public health officials and school administrators.
Maine Officials aren't sure whether they will need to confront an H1N1 swine flu pandemic this fall. But they are still preparing for one. Maine has identified 354 cases of H1N1, which include 19 individuals requiring hospitalization and one individual who has died. Of Maine residents with H1N1, 60 percent have been under 25 years of age. The number of cases is only a barometer of community transmission, not of actual case counts, because not all people with infection are tested.
The Maine CDC officials indicated that a statewide, mass media campaign would occur, as well as media updates provided by the CDC. Participants attended breakouts that included the following:
1) A Vaccine Refresher, facilitated by Nancy Dube, RN, MPH, Ellen Bridge, RN, BS, MTS and Janet Morrissette, RN, MSN
2) H1N1 In-Depth for Health Care Providers facilitated by Dr. Stephen Sears, MD, MPH, FACP and Andrew Pelletier, MD, MPH
3) Organizers of Large Scale Vaccine Clinics facilitated by Mary E. Jude, FNP-C, PA, MSN, MPH, Director, Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness, MeCDC
4) Community Response: Town Hall Meeting, facilitated by Jay Bradshaw, Director, Maine EMS, Commissioner Susan Gendron, DOE, Don Hoenig, DVM, Rob McAleer, Director MEMA, Dora Anne Mills, MD, MPH, Director, Division of Public Health Services, Maine CDC and Peter F. Smith, PhD, Director, Division of Infectious Disease, Maine CDC.
The afternoon breakout sessions comprised of H1N1 Vaccine Tabletop Exercises, with each facilitator leading the participants through a collaborative process to discuss and answer a set of questions to help build a plan for offering H1N1 vaccine to all people this fall, with a focus on those at high-risk. This day long planning process assisted the Maine CDC District H1N1 Vaccine Coordinators, Regional Resource Centers, City Public Health Departments, and others to jump start their district planning for H1N1 vaccine distribution and administration this fall. (The full agenda and Powerpoint presentation provided by Dr. Dora Mills can be found at www.maineflu.gov.)
Vaccine Distribution and Administration Planning:
Maine CDC field staff located in each DHHS District will serve as District Vaccine Coordinators, who will identify those populations prioritized to receive H1N1 Influenza vaccine who often do not have easy access to vaccine through the health care system. They will work with district and local partners to determine the most efficient and effective means for offering the vaccine to these priority groups.
Vaccine Coordinators will be one component of district leadership teams, which also include staff from the three Regional Resource Centers for Public Health Emergency Preparedness, and Emergency Management Agencies.
The Maine CDC District H1N1 Vaccine Coordinators are: (additional information can be found at www.maineflu.gov)
District 1 - York: Sharon Leahy-Lind, 490-4625
District 2 - Cumberland: Meredith Tipton, 592-5631
District 3 - Western Maine: MaryAnn Amrich, 753-9103
(Franklin, Oxford, and Androscoggin counties)
District 4 - Mid Coast: Jen Gunderman-King, 596-4278
(Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, and Sagadahoc counties)
District 5 - Central Maine: Sue Lee, 592-5644
(Somerset and Kennebec counties)
District 6 - Penquis: Debra Roy, 592-5633
(Penobscot and Piscataquis counties)
District 7 - Downeast: Jen Gunderman-King/Cindy Look, 596-4278
(Washington and Hancock counties)
District 8 - Aroostook: Sharon Ramey, 592-5632
Tribal Vaccine Coordinator: Jerolyn Ireland, 532-2240, Ext. 15
Supply of H1N1 vaccine will only begin to be available in limited amounts in mid-October so physicians are urged to begin seasonal flu immunization of patients as soon as possible. Seasonal flu vaccine is now in the market and provides no defense against novel H1N1. It is expected that novel H1N1 vaccine will require 2 shots separated by 3-4 weeks, so scheduling patients through offices will be a challenge.
Your GO TO Resource link is www.maineflu.gov . All MeCDC updates and alerts can be found here. Every Wednesday, new updates are posted. For additional information, don't hesitate to contact Kellie Miller, M.S., Director of Public Health Policy at email@example.com or 622-3374, ext. 229.
Updated information will be available at the Maine Medical Association's 2009 Annual Session during the Public Health Forum , "Public Health Swine Flu & You: The Practicing Physician's role in Emerging Public Health Threats" scheduled for Sunday, September 13th, 8am -10:30am at the Harborside Hotel in Bar Harbor, Maine. Moderated by Dr. Charles Danielson, with the following panelists:
- Dora A. Mills, MD, MPH, Maine Public Health Director, State Health Office, Maine CDC
- Kathy Knight, RN, Director, Northeastern Regional Resource Center, Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems
- Donald Burgess, MD, Southern Maine Medical Center Pediatrics
To register and attend the MMA's 2009 Annual Session and Public Health Forum, go to: www.mainemed.com.