Thursday, October 29, 2009

H1N1 and risk communications

Well ... It's been a while ... but now i have some time because I'm sitting home recovery from a pneumonia probably brought about by the H1N1 flu.

Now, no worries ... I'm doing fine ... but I've been reflecting on the risk communications aspects of the current pandemic. Now, my focus is primarily in Ontario and Canada, but I think that this observation applies to our US friends too.

That is, have you noticed the discrepancy between the often urgent if not alarmist nature of the messages sent by public health officials and their actual level of preparations?

I'm thinking that if you're going to scare the population into getting the flu shot ... you should be prepared for a great influx of people at the vaccination clinics ... and not have situations where people wait 4, 6 or even 8 hours in line ... some event wait longer and then are sent home without getting the shot when the clinic closes ...

And the messaging itself has sometimes been confusing ... now, should i get the seasonal flu shot if i get the H1N1 shot ? Who's really at risk?
Aren't young and healthy people actually getting sicker? Why not go to schools for vaccination clinics?

I think things will sort themselves out ... it's still a very moderate pandemic ...but I shudder to think if it had morphed into something more lethal ... how unprepared we would have been ...

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