This Week's Developments:
We continue our busy summer of planning for the fall flu season. This week there was a great deal of emphasis on vaccination planning for seasonal influenza and also for novel H1N1 flu. This year, because of expedited production, Massachusetts may see its supply of seasonal influenza vaccine earlier than ever. It is likely that health care providers across the state could start vaccinating their patients for seasonal flu as early as the end of August. This is important because while a vaccine for seasonal influenza won't protect you from the new H1N1 flu, it WILL protect you from the seasonal flu — which will likely be circulating at the same time that H1N1 flu is circulating.
The CDC is continuing to develop and test a vaccine for H1N1 flu and has indicated that an H1N1 vaccine may be available in large quantities starting in October. Even if the H1N1 vaccine is ready by then, it will likely not be delivered all at once. All states will likely receive an initial allocation and then regular shipments after that.
Given that we are already in August, our planning has also focused on back-to-school issues relating to the upcoming flu season. We are working closely on a number of planning issues with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as well as School Health Nurses and our local public health partners. The goal of course is to do our best to keep students and staff healthy and to manage likely flu outbreaks with as little disruption as possible for schools and parents. Soon, the CDC is expected to issue revised guidance on how long students and other people should be kept away from school and work after getting the flu.
Simple Precautions to Help Stop the Spread of Flu Include:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover your cough with a tissue or cough into your inner elbow and not into your hands.
- If you are sick stay home from work and if your child is sick keep them home for 7 days, or 24 hours after your symptoms go away—whichever is longer.
- Stay informed about the latest developments on the H1N1 flu, by visiting www.mass.gov/dph.
Working Together to Improve Adult Immunization Rates in MA posted on Apr 23
Registration for the 19th Annual Massachusetts Adult Immunization Conference is open! This event, to be held May 20, 2014 at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA attracts professionals from local public health organizations, long-term-care facilities, pharmacies, college health, hospitals, physician practices, community health centers, employers, health …Continue Reading Working Together to Improve Adult Immunization Rates in MA
Weekly Flu Report, April 18, 2014 posted on Apr 18
This week’s flu report shows a late-season increase in the rate of flu-like illness in the state – an indication of the unpredictability of flu and a reminder of the importance of taking simple measures to stop the spread of illness in our homes and communities. …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, April 18, 2014
DPH Kicks Off Town Hall Meetings to Address Underage Drinking and Prescription Drug Abuse posted on Apr 15
Last week, the Department hosted the first in a series of statewide Town Hall Meetings that will examine what can be done to prevent underage drinking and prescription drug abuse in the Commonwealth. Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) Director Hilary Jacobs was joined at the …Continue Reading DPH Kicks Off Town Hall Meetings to Address Underage Drinking and Prescription Drug Abuse