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Q: You are an Emergency Manager in your respective country. A highly infectious influenza strain has been detected. There is a limited quantity of the vaccine to prevent this particular strain of influenza. Discuss your plan for distributing this vaccine. Who receives the vaccine and who does not? How did you come to this conclusion?
1) Distribution of vaccines is an essential part of the pandemic influenza plan of any healthcare organization. Under these circumstances, factors during distribution are sometimes hard to predict and require significant consideration (Wahlen et al., 2010). The plan for the distribution of limited vaccine shall be based on information acquired from the field. Medical teams will be dispatched to the various areas for surveillance and shall be tasked with screening people, making early diagnoses, and reporting to information centres. The team in charge of monitoring shall analyse these pieces of data and determine the most susceptible areas. On acquisition of data on the persons who are at the most significant risk of contracting the highly infectious influenza strain and determining the rate of transmission in various geographical areas, I shall prioritize the distribution of vaccines to these areas.
My primary goal in supplying the vaccines shall be to reduce mortality and to prevent or reduce the chance of having an outbreak. Consequently, vulnerable groups like children and pregnant women shall be among the first to be given the vaccines. After that, we should consider people in areas where there is a significant risk of contracting influenza.
We shall prioritize vulnerable groups who have less immunity system; children, mothers, and elderly people to promote efficiency in the distribution of the vaccine (Tosh, Jacobson, & Poland, 2010)). The main goal is to ensure that the threat of mortality or a massive outbreak is avoided. Adults tend to have a stronger immune system and are less likely to contract the disease or die of influenza in comparison to children (Tosh, Jacobson, & Poland, 2010). additionally, focusing on areas where there have been numerous diagnoses of influenza shall ensure that the vaccine deals with an imminent threat of death and contains the spread of flu to other regions.
Wahlen, M. K. J., Bessette, R. R., Bernard, M. E., Springer, D. J., Benson, C. A., & Wahlen, M. K. J. (2010). Improving influenza vaccine distribution in preparation for an H1N1 influenza pandemic: Lessons from the field. The Journal of Medical Practice Management : MPM, 26(3), 182-187.
Fausto, F., Paolo, P., Anna, O., & Carlo, S. (2018). Excess mortality in italy: Should we care about low influenza vaccine uptake? Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 46(2), 170-174. doi:10.1177/1403494817720102
Tosh, P., Jacobson, R., & Poland, G. (2010). Influenza vaccines: From surveillance through production to protection. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 85(3), 257-73. doi:10.4065/mcp.2009.0615
The shortage of vaccine can lead to very bad consequences and contributes to making the infection become pandemic. In 2016, the limited number of Hepatitis A vaccine claimed 21 lives and sickened more than six hundred in California (LaMotte, 2018). However, in such situations, the emergency managers will find themselves in a situation where they need to find ways to limit the spread of the disease by deciding who needs to receive the available vaccines and who does not, which can result in community outrage. However, as an emergency manager, I should be honest with my people, and I will make my decisions based on scientific bases to avoid any liability.
Who receives the vaccine and who does not is a critical decision to make. By taking the California response to the 2016 Hepatitis A outbreaks, while they had a limited number of vaccines, as a lesson, they were targeting the vulnerable groups in the community first, and they were communicating with manufacturers to increase the vaccine production (LaMotte, 2018). However, as an emergency manager, my strategy to handle the situation will be giving the available shots to the high-risk population and health care providers. On the other hand, we will not give the vaccines to people who already have been infected by the virus. Moreover, we will contact the sources/manufactures to find how to increase vaccine productions.
Many reasons led us to make our decisions. First, the high-risk population has a great chance to be infected, according to CDC (n.d) high-risk populations such as children, elderly, people with HIV or other immunodeficiency diseases can being severely affected by any public health emergency. Likewise, we can consider the healthcare providers as one of the high-risk groups because they are in an environment that increases their risk of infection. That is why we chose to start with the high-risk group first. Second, after we understood how the vaccine works, we decided that we are not going to vaccinate infected people and save the available vaccines for people who in need. According to CDC (2018), the vaccine works as a firewall that protects the body from being infected in the first place, so, as long as people already get sick, the vaccine will not function as it supposed to do it will not treat their symptoms. Instead, we will isolate the infected people and treat their symptoms with medicines such as antivirals and antipyretics, and we will continue monitoring them.
Finally, we believe that the unexpected shortage of vaccines was not anticipated. The community has the right to blame the health sector, but we will do what we can to limit the spread of the disease and distribute the available vaccines based on an ethical and scientific basis. However, these situations reflect the importance of being proactive rather than reactive regarding facing outbreaks.
LaMotte S. (January 12, 2018). During a hepatitis A emergency, there’s a nationwide shortage of
vaccine. CNN health. Retrieved form https://www.cnn.com/2017/11/15/health/hepatitis-a-…
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2018). Understanding how vaccines work.
Centers for disease control and preventions. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/conversations/dow…
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (n.d). Populations and vulnerabilities.
Centers for disease control and preventions. Retrieved from https://ephtracking.cdc.gov/showPcMain.action