Influenza: Progress Made in Responding to Seasonal and Pandemic Outbreaks

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "GAO's prior work has identified a number of lessons from federal responses to seasonal influenza vaccine shortages and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic that carry implications for future influenza seasons or another influenza pandemic. These lessons include the value of planning that involves the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); the importance of effective communication among all levels of government and with the public; and the difficulty of matching vaccine supply with the public's demand for it. First, planning is critical to an effective response, and it particularly ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. February 13, 2013.

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Description

Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "GAO's prior work has identified a number of lessons from federal responses to seasonal influenza vaccine shortages and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic that carry implications for future influenza seasons or another influenza pandemic. These lessons include the value of planning that involves the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); the importance of effective communication among all levels of government and with the public; and the difficulty of matching vaccine supply with the public's demand for it. First, planning is critical to an effective response, and it particularly helped in responding to the H1N1 pandemic. Planning activities, such as exercises and interagency meetings, built relationships that positioned the government to respond effectively. Second, clear and consistent communication, especially regarding the availability of vaccine, is key. The failure to effectively manage public expectations of vaccine availability can undermine government credibility and contribute to individuals' failure to seek or receive an influenza vaccination. Recognizing the importance of sharing updated information, HHS's influenza website includes a vaccine finder for individuals, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) website helps providers find vaccine available for purchase. Third, predicting all of the influenza virus strains that will be circulating in a given season and their likely severity is difficult. Finally, matching influenza vaccine supply to demand is challenging, as the supply of and demand for vaccine can vary throughout seasons and across multiple seasons. HHS has taken a number of steps to address these lessons learned; however, the department continues to face challenges, particularly in communicating messages in changing circumstances and in facilitating the matching of available vaccine supply with public demand."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • February 13, 2013

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Influenza: Progress Made in Responding to Seasonal and Pandemic Outbreaks, text, February 13, 2013; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc298807/: accessed October 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.