Officials Prepare For Fall Flu Season

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NEW BRUNSWICK—Officials from public health, emergency management and homeland security agencies attended a conference in New Brunswick this week to plan New Jersey’s response to a possible resurgence of H1N1 flu in the fall.

Among the issues discussed were the handling of a potential vaccination and coordinating school responses.

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Five companies are expected to produce tens of millions of doses of a vaccine for H1N1 flu by mid-October, according to Pascale Wortley, chief of the Health Services Research and Evaluation Branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among the key issue in the vaccination discussion are identifying which populations should get priority, developing appropriate mechanisms for administering the drugs and monitoring their effects, and creating systems of payment, officials at the conference said.

“We will use the dialogue from the pandemic influenza summit to help determine the best ways to apply funding to our preparedness efforts,” said Health Commissioner Heather Howard said.

New Jersey will receive $10 million from the federal government to prepare for the fall flu season. The state Department of Health and Senior Services will use $7.5 million for preparation and prevention efforts against seasonal and H1N1 flu. Hospitals and other health facilities will share the remaining funds.

The money comes from a $350 million pool the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday to encourage state flu preparation.

According to the state health department, there have been 833 confirmed cases of H1N1 flu in New Jersey, with 10 fatalities.


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