Rapid Decline in Floridians Seeking 2009 H1N1 Influenza Vaccination

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To service the needs of the patients and the community, The Institute of Women’s Health of North America partnered with the FloridaSHOTS to initiate a 2009 H1N1 Influence virus vaccination program in all six affiliated campuses in Florida. This program was initiated under the Medical Directorship of Dr. Abdul Rao, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Research Officer of the Institute. It was expected that residents in Broward, Hillsborough, Marion, Orange and adjoining counties will avail of this opportunity. However, there appears to be a waning interest among Floridians to get vaccinated against 2009 H1N1 Influenza virus.

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Given the urgency of this matter and the endemic nature of this disease, the Institute mobilized a rather expansive infrastructure to effectively implement this program

To service the needs of the patients and the community, The Institute of Women’s Health of North America partnered with the FloridaSHOTS to initiate a 2009 H1N1 Influence virus vaccination program in all six affiliated campuses in Florida. This program was initiated under the Medical Directorship of Dr. Abdul Rao, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Research Officer of the Institute. It was expected that residents in Broward, Hillsborough, Marion, Orange and adjoining counties will avail of this opportunity. However, there appears to be a waning interest among Floridians to get vaccinated against 2009 H1N1 Influenza virus.

“Given the urgency of this matter and the endemic nature of this disease, the Institute mobilized a rather expansive infrastructure to effectively implement this program” said Abdul Rao.” However, despite of all these efforts, the Institute did not see an overwhelming response from the community “.

The Institute used all its resources to effectively advertise this program. In addiiton to featuring it online and in monthly newsletters, vaccination was offered to all patients and their caregivers who visited the campuses. Flyers were also distributed to attendees at local churches, synagogues, and various community centers. Experience has suggested that only 10% of individuals offered these services agreed to be vaccinated.

“When inquired, the primary reason for refusal to get vaccinated was the prevailing uncertainty about the safety of this vaccine” said Dr. Abdul Rao “Complications associated with this vaccination were highly publicized without providing any meaningful context”.

Despite continuing deaths due to 2009 H1N1 Influenza viral infection, unsubstantiated information continues to be circulated about the safety of this vaccine. The recent recall by Sanofi Pasteur of 800,000 pre-filled vaccines due to concerns about its efficacy has further deteriorated patient’s confidence in this vaccine program. Lawsuits against the manufacturers of these vaccines and CDC have not helped the ultimate goal of vaccinating as many Floridians as possible in a timely manner.

It is not clear at this stage how this predicament can be resolved particularly in light of the fact that infection from 2009 H1N1 Influenza virus remains a serious threat in the U.S., and over 10,000 patients have already died from complications of this endemic disease.
The Institute is working very closely with the relevant county health departments and community-based organizations to continue to enhance the outreach and effectiveness of this vaccination program. Hundreds of vaccines are still available at Institute's affiliated campuses and the vaccination is offered on a walk-in basis to all men, women and children over the age of four (4) years. For your convenience, evening and weekend hours are also available. Very knowledgeable staff at each affiliated campus is available to provide any clarification that you may need to make an informed decision. To get directions to a campus near you, please call 1-877-966-3672 or visit the website (http://www.iwhna.org).

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