07/16/09 — Health Board plans ahead for next flu season

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Health Board plans ahead for next flu season

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 16, 2009 1:46 PM

A plan of attack is already being developed for next year's flu season, Health Director James Roosen told the Board of Health Wednesday.

Reacting to this year's swine flu, or H1N1 as it came to be known, as well as the seasonal flu, the Health Department has begun strategizing for the upcoming year, Roosen said.

"It looks like we're going to be giving several thousand doses of seasonal flu this year," he told the board. "We received funding and will vaccinate school kids, and are looking at about an additional 8,000 vaccinations under this program."

Roosen said discussions will be held with the school district on how to distribute the vaccinations.

A plan for distributing the H1N1 vaccines countywide is also in order, he added.

"We need to think about supplies, personnel, where and how," he said. "We have got a mass vaccination plan so that will help us."

In recent years, the Health Department developed a readiness response plan in the event of a pandemic event. Several exercises have been held locally to implement the mass vaccination plan.

One board member also suggested the need for a board retreat to delve further into various public health issues.

Dr. Kim Larson gave a report on a conference she recently attended, sponsored by the National Association of Local Boards of Health. One particularly glaring area centered around House Bill 2, prohibiting smoking in public places and places of employment.

With the tobacco control measure, she said, "boards of health have more authority than ever before." That, and other issues, should prompt the board to consider having a retreat during the coming year.

She recommended a half-day format, a "working meeting" to help the board move forward in its efforts.

Board member Dr. Michael Gooden, who also serves on the Wayne Community College board of trustees, agreed, noting that with the economic situation, it should be held locally.

Ira Thigpen, board chairman, also appreciated the suggestion. He said he has wanted to further discuss ways to create a bonus plan for employees, and a retreat would be an ideal format to include that.

Roosen offered to investigate what other public health boards have done and bring back ideas at a future meeting.