Panel urges HHS to prepare for H1N1 vaccine safety concerns

first_imgAug 24, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – An advisory committee today called on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to be ready to respond quickly to safety concerns that may emerge during this fall’s novel H1N1 influenza vaccination campaign.The National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) unanimously passed a recommendation that HHS “develop, and where possible test in advance, a strong and organized response to scientific and pubic concerns about vaccine safety that may emerge during the 2009 H1N1 vaccination campaign.””The challenge will be to communicate effectively and to differentiate rapidly between adverse events that may be causally related to the vaccine and those which would be expected by chance alone,” states the recommendation.The 17-member committee said HHS could prepare in two specific ways:Assembling information on background rates in the general population of anticipated adverse events following immunization. An HHS official at the meeting said such events might include, for example, heart attacks and shortness of breath.Organizing drills or practice scenarios for how the government will respond to concerns about adverse events temporally—but not necessarily causally—related to H1N1, including identifying data resources and strategies for communications messagesThe recommendations are specifically intended for Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh, to whom the committee reports.The recommendation comes as clinical trials of H1N1 vaccines are just getting under way. HHS expects to launch the vaccination campaign in mid October, when only preliminary trial results will be available.Planners are mindful of the 1976 swine flu vaccination campaign, which reached more than 40 million people but was associated with an increase in cases of Guillian-Barre syndrome, a temporary paralytic condition. Officials say vaccine safety and purifications steps are much more advanced today than at that time.The NVAC also approved a separate recommendation today that HHS develop a detailed overall plan for communicating about the H1N1 vaccination program. The group urged HHS to develop a comprehensive plan for achieving at least the following aims:Delineating the difference between seasonal flu and pandemic H1N1 fluReaching out to healthcare providers who do not usually supply vaccination services, such as obstetricians/gynecologists and internistsIdentifying high-risk groups and groups that are targeted for both seasonal flu and pandemic flu immunization, and explaining why these groups may differDiscussing and responding to emerging news and events, such as vaccine supply and vaccine safety concernsThe two recommendations were passed the same day the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology called on the Obama administration to speed the development of strategies to communicate public health messages to help reduce the impact of the pandemic, among other steps. (See related CIDRAP News story.)At today’s NVAC meeting, Jenny Backus, HHS assistant secretary for public affairs, outlined steps the agency is currently taking to communicate with the public about preparing for both seasonal flu and the novel H1N1 virus.Backus said HHS pushed hygiene steps such as hand-washing and cough etiquette during the spring and renewed that emphasis starting in July. From now into mid September the agency will be spreading the word about the importance of getting a seasonal flu shot. The third phase will be to urge target groups to get their H1N1 immunization.”That would begin probably a week or two before we get the big bulk of vaccine out the door,” she said. “I’m projecting starting it about the end of September. We need a little education period; we can’t just drop vaccine into the states and expect people to get the shot.”Noting that the target groups for seasonal and H1N1 immunizations don’t entirely match up, she said, “We definitely have our work cut out for us.”Among other things, HHS has lined up 44 Congress members of both parties to tape public service announcements about flu immunization, Backus reported. They will be posted on the HHS’s Web site and used in the lawmakers’ districts.See also:Aug 24 NVAC meeting agenda home page read more

As US cities simmer, a leadership test for Trump

first_imgThe shadow of Charlottesville In a call with state governors on Monday — excerpts of which were reported by US media — Trump urged them to get much tougher on protesters.”If you don’t dominate, you’re wasting your time,” he was quoted as saying. “They’re going to run over you. You’re going to look like a bunch of jerks.”Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker confronted Trump over his tone, accusing the president of making the situation “worse,” ABC News reported. “I’ve been extraordinarily concerned about the rhetoric that’s been used by you,” Pritzker reportedly said. “It’s been inflammatory.”On Sunday the Democratic mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, called out what she said was a dangerous lack of presidential leadership.”He speaks and he makes it worse,” she said. “This is like Charlottesville all over again.”The reference was to Trump’s now-infamous response to the deadly violence pitting neo-Nazis against counterprotesters in the Virginia city in 2017 — when he declared there to be “very fine people on both sides.”While Trump’s comments back then drew condemnation even within his own camp, the Republican Party has had little to say on his response to the death of the unarmed Floyd, who pleaded for his life as a white police officer knelt on his neck.One exception was Tim Scott, the only black Republican senator, who criticized Trump for what he said were “not constructive tweets, without any question.”The president’s last public comments on the spreading unrest — delivered at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida — showed the competing impulses at work as he flickered between empathy, finger-pointing and a tough law and order message.Trump denounced Floyd’s death in Minneapolis as a “grave tragedy” that “filled Americans all over the country with horror, anger, and grief.””I understand the pain that people are feeling,” the president said.But from there he pivoted to the role of “anarchists” in fomenting unrest, while sidestepping the core issue: police brutality and the anger of a black minority for whom Floyd’s last words have become a rallying cry: “I can’t breathe.”Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, for his part, published an op-ed article in which he spoke out against violence “putting innocent people at risk — but also warned not to reduce a millions-strong movement to the excesses of a “small minority.””The overwhelming majority of participants have been peaceful, courageous, responsible, and inspiring.””They deserve our respect and support, not condemnation,” Obama added — in a pointed message to his successor in the White House. “A national Oval Office address is not going to stop Antifa,” the president’s spokeswoman said Monday, referring to the far-left activist network Trump accuses of spearheading the violence of recent days.Election plug aside, Trump’s other morning tweets seemed less aimed at restoring calm than at firing up his base.One quoted a Fox News host denying that white supremacist groups had played a part in stoking unrest.Another lashed out at Democratic rival Joe Biden, claiming he was surrounded by members of the “Radical Left” who were “working to get the Anarchists out of jail, and probably more.” Topics : Lurching from tough talk to empathy and back again, with one eye firmly on his voter base, Donald Trump seems unsure what tone to strike as America is convulsed from Minneapolis to Los Angeles by furious anti-racism protests. After a sixth night of at times violent unrest that saw chaotic scenes unfold right outside the White House, Trump made clear in an early morning tweet where his focus lies: “NOVEMBER 3” — date of the presidential election.For days the US leader has been sending conflicting messages, as anger flared in dozens of American cities over the death of George Floyd, the 46-year-old come to symbolize the scourge of police brutality towards African Americans. Since Trump returned from Florida to the White House Saturday night, Washington has been expecting a presidential address — perhaps a message of unity — to a nation already battered by the 100,000 lives and 40 million jobs lost to COVID-19 and now facing its most sweeping civil unrest in decades.But instead the Republican leader has hunkered down, unseen and unheard throughout Sunday, but for a series of eruptive tweets berating the media and Democratic officials for their supposed lack of resolve toward protesters.The image, late Sunday night, of exterior lights going dark at the White House — while blocks away protesters set fires and smashed windows — seemed to say it all about a president cut off from his fellow Americans.And there was no indication of a change of heart Monday by the president, who still had no public events scheduled.last_img read more

Govt needs to do more to sort licenses for returning emigrants – Doherty

first_imgDeputy Pearse Doherty has criticised the Government for not doing enough to assist returning emigrants who hold driving licences and permits which have been issued abroad to obtain an Irish Driving licence.Deputy Doherty’s criticism comes amid a growing number of Irish citizens returning home permanently from overseas and being told by licencing authorities that they must re-sit their driving test.This is in order to drive legally in the state due to the absence of bilateral agreements on licence exchange between the state and certain jurisdictions. Deputy Doherty said “As more and more Irish citizens are returning home after having spent time living and working abroad, a growing number of them are experiencing the frustrating situation whereby their foreign issued driving licence is not officially recognised by authorities here for the purposes of driving licence exchange.“This means that these drivers are not eligible to have their licence converted to an Irish driving licence, or its equivalent, as is required in order for them to legally drive on roads in the state on a permanent basis.“In scenarios where people may have sat driving tests while abroad in certain countries, or who had an Irish driving licence in the past but this has since expired and has not been renewed within the current renewal time periods, then these people are likely to be left with no other option but to re-take their tests once they return home.“There are reciprocal exchanges for driving licences within all EU Member States, and while certain bilateral agreements exist between authorities here and a number of other countries and jurisdiction outside of the EU and EEA, the number of licensing jurisdiction which are recognised by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) is extremely limited and often don’t include countries to which Irish people have immigrated in recent years. “Therefore, while driving licences which have been awarded to Irish citizens living in the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Manitoba for example are recognised and may be swapped for an Irish driving licence, Irish citizens whom have obtained a licence from any of the other provinces and territories in Canada are not recognised and so, unless they already have a valid Irish licence or one which may be renewed, then these motorists must re-sit their driving tests.“While it’s only right that laws exists surrounding driving licences and exchanges so that driving standards and road safety can be ensured on our roads, the present limited number of jurisdictions for which agreements exist in respect of licensing is causing untold stress and inconvenience to our citizens returning home.“This is particularly the case for those coming back to Ireland to live in rural areas where public transport options may be limited and being able to drive and have your own mode of transport is crucial in order to travel to and from work or to access public services.“I have raised this issue with the Minister recently in the Dáil where I stressed that this is a very real problem faced by Irish people returning home permanently however, it is clear that not enough is being done at Government level to extend the number of recognised jurisdictions for the purpose of licence exchange.“As someone who has visited Irish communities living abroad, and having heard of their desire to eventually come back home to live and work in future, it is simply inexplicable to have a situation where authorities here are not making every possible effort to facilitate our people to do so. “I intend to raise this matter again with the Minister as the Dáil comes back from its recess and to ask specifically what progress will be made by the current Government to assist Irish citizens to get back on the roads once they return.”Govt needs to do more to sort licenses for returning emigrants – Doherty was last modified: September 21st, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more