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Equity & Access: Distributing Vaccine During H1N1 - Field Guide to Public Health Practice

Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

April 1, 2014

During the 2009-10 H1N1 influenza pandemic, state and local public health agencies faced numerous challenges about how to allocate scarce healthcare resources while still doing everything possible to protect the health of every person in their communities. Some of the toughest issues agencies faced had to do with allocating scarce supplies of vaccine and antivirals in the fall of 2009, acknowledging national guidelines but also monitoring and responding to the effects of influenza at the local level.

In retrospect, the 2009-10 pandemic may seem like a time of public health frustration, logistical and ethical dilemmas, and scarce funding and resources. But in looking at stories about how state and local health agencies addressed problems, it becomes clear that during this time, public health planners used creativity, a sense of fairness, and close connections to their communities to increase access to healthcare.

These are examples of how public health agencies acknowledged disparities and barriers to care during an emergency and created projects that helped people access preventive care and treatment that would otherwise have been unavailable or unattainable.


CIDRAP Vaccine During H1N1