Preparing for Flu Season and Preventing Another Pandemic

This is an unedited transcript.

0:06
Hello, everybody, and welcome Sarah Dash, President and CEO of the Alliance for Health Policy. We’re so pleased that you are here with us today for our session on preparing for flu season and preventing another pandemic.

0:20
For those who are not familiar with the Alliance, welcome, We are a non partisan resource for the health policy community, dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding of health policy issues.

0:31
The Alliance gratefully acknowledges the Coalition to Stop Flu for supporting today’s webinar. And I am extremely pleased to kick off today’s event in conversation with the current chairman of the Coalition to stop flu former Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle, Senator Daschle.

0:51
Hello, thank you for being with us today.

0:54
Great to be with you Congratulations, program.

0:58
Oh, Thank you so much And the timing is good. So, Senator, you know before founding the Volition of course you served in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. And you’re the only Senate Democratic leader to serve twice as both majority and minority leaders say you have a lot of experience making policy for sure. Why have you chosen to focus on the flu? Why now?

1:26
Well, Sarah Health Care has been an area that I care deeply about. I’ve worked on it for decades now, and the more I spoke with stakeholders in recent years, the more I became convinced that influenza policy was really one aspect of healthcare. Improvement was not only necessary, but I think really achievable.

1:44
And as you know, flu has two aspects, both seasonal and pandemic, unfortunately, from a, from a federal government perspective, we really don’t handle either one of them, all that. Well, it’s astonishing to me to think that in an average flu season, we could see as many as 60,000 deaths in the US alone.

2:04
In addition to thousands of hospitalizations millions of illnesses, it’s truly one of the country’s most predictable public health thrifts, and yet I’d argue that the federal government doesn’t treat this threat with the urgency that I think it deserves.

2:18
And then secondly, of course, from a pandemic perspective, that it’s clear that our country really remains dangerously unprepared for an influenza pandemic this week.

2:28
We crossed a tragic milestone, as everyone knows we have now lost more Americans to covert than the estimated 675,000 Americans died in the 1918 Influenza Pandemic.

2:41
It’s difficult to even comprehend than yet.

2:44
I have to wonder how much worse the 1918 Flu Pandemic would have been in today’s hyper mobile society.

2:52
So unfortunately one thing can be certain that is that next the next pandemic is, is is going to happen. It’s not a question of when.

3:04
But it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s likely to be something we’re going to have to confront perhaps even in our lifetimes.

3:12
Yeah that’s a really frightening thought and yeah, someone found out, sometime this year that I had ancestors who actually died in that 918 flu pandemic that I didn’t know about. It kind of brings it home a little bit more. And, of course, so many people have lost loved ones to the current covert pandemic and to answer the flu. No. I mean, is we’re in the midst of this still very much in the midst of the covert 19 pandemic?

3:38
What do you think for you or some of the key learnings from the federal response as they apply to the influenza and other, you know, infectious disease management, particularly the flu, Sorry. What are the things that I came to realize is that we really have to create more of a of a collaborative effort, which is why we started the coalition to stop flu in the first place.

4:04
We think it’s so important that all the different stakeholders work together to see if we can find a way to coalesce around this challenge or effectively and to take the the key learnings that that there really ought to be a clear organizational effort around.

4:22
And so, I would point three lessons that are pretty broadly applicable to influenza and other infectious diseases. The first is Is this pretty simple?

4:33
There’s no substitute for preparation.

4:35
Our country has long taken a reactive, rather than proactive stance or pandemic preparedness.

4:42
And this means that when a crisis arises, we scrambled it for funding and personnel in place, that’s certainly what we did with Kobo.

4:49
But a pandemic response is not simply a switch. You can turn on and off unita, a strong public health infrastructure. You need this disease surveillance capabilities. You need partnerships with diagnostics, and drug manufacturers, and agile, and responsive federal agency, was clear roles, and responsibilities, and strategic plans that can be taken off the shelf and executed, need all of that.

5:14
And 18 months after cobo, I fear we, we’ve only made incremental progress in any of these, these areas. So, that’s number one.

5:23
Just preparedness, the second and related lesson is perhaps an obvious one as well, but it’s that state and local governments need to be vital partners and infectious disease management.

5:35
Know, we’re currently paying a price for years under funding, state, and local public health departments and laboratories, and I worry about what will happen when the co good response funding runs out. And that will happen.

5:48
It’s exactly what happened after the H 1 N 1 pandemic and contributed to the situation that we find ourselves in today, then, I guess I’d say third.

5:57
Just as the Federal Government and each state and local government, the Federal government needs the private sector as well.

6:05
And therein lies this need for a coalition.

6:09
Too often, during the the covert response, the Federal Government was either too late or too conservative, about engaging the private sector on things like testing and therapeutics.

6:19
So infectious diseases impact us all.

6:22
The private sector is just critical in both preparedness, as well as response.

6:28
Yeah. Thank you so much. And we certainly saw some of that with some of the public private collaborations, the response. So I’m hearing preparedness, state and local governments and then in ensuring that there’s a partnership private sector.

6:43
Yeah.

6:43
And so speaking of preparation I mean what do you think? Are we prepared for a flu pandemic? And what are the top things we need to be considering to really stop it?

6:58
Well, like Sarah, I really hate to too acknowledge what I really believe. And that is, I don’t think we are prepared.

7:05
I, I’d hope that we would take lessons from covert by recognizing that public health is truly a national security issue, and taking steps to make new, sustainable investments in public health and endemic preparedness.

7:20
But unfortunately, it just appears that it’s unlikely that anything is going to happen near the scale that is necessary.

7:27
So what we’re hoping is that our coalition and all the critical stakeholders in the infectious disease ecosystem can really help make the case to Congress and the administration, especially right now, that public health and pandemic preparedness does have a constituency. And we quite literally, can’t afford to let this moment pass a spot.

7:49
Well, thank you so much, Senator Daschle. It’s, it’s an important call to action, it’s certainly a challenging one amidst you know, all of the other areas of focus. But we’re so glad to be here today to be able to bring focus on this important issue, And we have a really phenomenal panel of experts that is going to really lay out the issues for us in great detail, including what to expect for this upcoming flu season. So, Senator, I want to thank you for joining us today and for your leadership on this issue.

8:24
Thanks so much, Sarah, And thanks for your leadership, as well, and look forward to working closely together.

8:29
Absolutely. Thank you.

8:34
And now it’s my pleasure to introduce our first. I gotta go over quick housekeeping item. Sorry, guys. And then I’m going to introduce today’s moderator. So, first, you can join today’s conversation on Twitter, at the hashtag #AllHealthLive. Join our community at All Health Policy, Follow us on Facebook, and LinkedIn, we want you to be active. Participants: Please get your questions ready. You should have a dashboard with a little speech bubble icon that has a question mark, and go ahead and use that to submit your questions at any time throughout the broadcast and we’ll get to as many as possible. And if you have any tech issues, go ahead and submit them there, as well.

9:07
Finally, please please be sure to check out our website, all health policy dot org where you can find background materials, including a resource list and an expert list, as well as a recording of today’s webinar and Slide deck, which will be made available on our website soon. So now it is my pleasure to introduce our moderator, doctor Amesh Adalja. Hello doctor Adalja, so nice to see you. Hi. Thank you.

9:33
Yes. So, so, doctor, doctor, you’re a senior scholar at the Center for Health Security part of the Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health and Adjunct Assistant Professor, and an affiliate of the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health, as well as an expert in Emerging Infectious Diseases Infectious Disease Pandemic Preparedness and Biosecurity, and, of course, as Senator, National, made the point of public health really, as a national security issue. We are so fortunate to have you with us today to lead our discussion. So, I will now turn it over to you to introduce our panelists and lead the conversation. Thank you.

10:11
So, thank you for that introduction, Sarah. I wanted to start off with just a few minutes of opening comments, just because I’m an infectious disease doctor that works on pandemic preparedness and Emerging Infectious Disease, treating patients throughout this pandemic. And I thought I would maybe just give you some overarching themes to kind of think about during the rest of this webinar and with our panelists. So, I think that we’re here talking about influenza. And I want to just emphasize the fact that these are distinct infectious diseases, but there’s a lot of synergy between them. They’re both respiratory viruses. They’re both spread efficiently from person to person.

10:44
They both have a lot of disruptive effects. And I do think, while there are differences, For example, coven 19 tends to spare the youngest children from severe illness, which is very different. From Flow where we do get a lot of pediatric mortality. There isn’t a lot that we’ve done during this pandemic that has to be built upon.

11:02
There’s a lot of momentum that we’ve seen with Pandemic Preparedness, with coven mitigation that I think can form a basis for us to be much better with, with seasonal flu. Because we still have tens of thousands of people who die every year with seasonal flu. We have poor vaccine uptake.

11:17
We have healthcare workers who don’t get vaccinated against flu and a lot of the energy around Kovac I think can be harnessed and move towards flu. And it’s going to make us all better.

11:26
It’s going to be so much better for all of us if we have even a more milder flu season and there’s a lot of uncertainty about the flu seasons coming up and I think that’s something that we may talk about in that.

11:35
And the discussion. But it’s really important that we don’t lose this moment because pandemic preparedness, as Senator National has said, has been often handled in a reactive manner.

11:44
We need a proactive approach and I think right now, since everyone’s lives have been touched by this pandemic, we will be able to at least get them their attention to see how important public health is, how important infectious disease preparedness is and how it can impact national security.

12:00
Mean, you can just look and see how covenant in flu interact, and just by looking at what happened to our flu seasons in the last two southern hemispheres and now coming up, one northern hemisphere season and another northern hemisphere coming. And we basically had very little flu. And I think that that shows you that there are ways to put mitigation measures in place and to give people harm reduction principles doesn’t mean that we have to have everybody wearing masks during flu season but we see that that actually works or social distancing are hand-washing. How that can impact flu, So there’s a lot to learn. And I think it’s going to be interesting to see how Flu Preparedness builds upon what coven 19 has done and where the differences differences may be. But the main point is there is a lot of synergy that I think would be important to remember and to use as we start to think about what Sluice flu is gonna look like in the coming years.

12:50
So, with those brief remarks, I want to start to introduce this esteemed panel of experts that are going to help us dive deeper.

12:58
First, I’d like to introduce doctor Anand Parekh, Chief Medical Advisor at the Bipartisan Policy Center, where he provides clinical and public health expertise across the organization.

13:10
Next, I am pleased to introduce doctor LJ Tan, Chief Strategy Officer at the Immunization Action Coalition.

13:17
Prior to joining IAC, doctor Tan as a Director of Infectious Disease, Immunology and Molecular Medicine, and then Director of Medicine and Public Health at the American Medical Association.

13:28
Finally, I’m joined by Ms. Jennifer Miller, treasure of families fighting Flu.

13:34
It’s a Twitter account to follow, I follow it, Jennifer. Joint families fighting Flu in 20 13 after her young daughters, frightening data with flu story you’ll hear more about today.

13:44
Jennifer and her family also establish the Caroline Miller Endowed Fund for Nursing Education, indicating Caroline T ICU Award at the the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia does support continuing education for nurses.

13:58
We’re going to start today’s discussion hearing from doctor Anne …, who will be providing an overview of the federal government’s flu ecosystem.

14:06
Doctor Parekh, I turn it over to you.

14:09
Thank you, doctor Adalja, and thanks to the Alliance for Health Policy and Sarah and everyone who’s organized this important webinar today. So many important themes that doctor … has already covered.

14:23
I think from my perspective, you know, when it comes to seasonal influenza, we can no longer take this for granted as we’ve heard any over here or tens of thousands of Americans, you know, regular flu season, die from seasonal influenza, hundreds of thousands hospitalizations and I think for pandemic influenza.

14:41
I think it’s a question. It’s not a question of if but when. So both of these topics are absolutely critical, and I think Seasonal influenza preparedness helps us with pandemic influenza preparedness as well as and vice versa. So I think it’s something important to acknowledge at the outset.

14:58
When we think about the federal government, sort of the ecosystem of activities with respect to flu, you know, there are so many critical agencies from the CDC to the FDA, to the NIH, asper and Barbara that are involved.

15:12
I think the easiest way to sort of categorize this is really think about sort of the prevention detection and treatment And when it comes to seasonal influenza.

15:22
Certainly on the prevention side, there are many agencies involved with vaccine related efforts, whether it’s at clinical trials, at the NIH, whether it’s increasing domestic manufacturing capacity, asper, as well as as BARDA. There’s the procurement and the purchase of vaccines that’s done through the CDC, through programs like Vaccines for Children and other programs that purchase vaccines for Vulnerable Americans.

15:50
Obviously, CMS, Medicare and Medicaid are important purchasers to get to tens of millions of Americans and then there’s promotion of the vaccine. That is done by CDC, CMS, and other federal agencies.

16:04
On the detection side, there are numerous agencies that work there. Obviously, CDC has an important role with respect to surveillance that’s global surveillance Tracking the circulating strains. As well as domestic surveillance, and looking at, at the Integrated Influenza Surveillance Network, to help us assess where we are with cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

16:26
Then, of course, with respect, the detection of testing is absolutely critical. And there are a number of agencies there that have an important role from ask earn and Barbara and the work they do there with Advanced Research and development, as well as an FDA from a regulatory perspective.

16:42
Ensuring tests are safe and efficacious.

16:46
And then finally, from a treatment perspective, again, Esper and BARDA and FDA for antivirals have a tremendously important role. And then looking at the healthcare system at large, ensuring that hospitals are prepared, that they’re surge capacity, beds as well as staffing. Asked her plays a critical role there. So as you can see, all of these agencies really work together. They have important roles, both domestically as well as global. Some agencies, like CDC, of course, provide important support, the state, state, and local health departments, who work on all of these different types of issues.

17:25
So, there are a lot of different functions across the federal government, but I think I want to probably end on what I consider probably three of the most important priorities at the federal level.

17:35
These are priorities right now, but I think these need to be the three priorities for the federal government as you look at the blue ecosystem moving forward.

17:45
And the first is certainly that We need better seasonal influenza vaccines.

17:51
And, and I think as as already been alluded to the current effectiveness, miss rate, you looked at over the last decade, the effectiveness, and this rate of the flu vaccine has ranged from about 20 to 60%. I think, and we can all agree that, that we want to do better there.

18:07
There’s a lot of important research right now at NIH, looking at a universal flu vaccine, and that good at that. But to work with multiple strains, that could be effective for kids as Well as adults, that can provide some long term community. At least a year. I think that’s an important development.

18:24
There are many who are talking about using the m-r.n.a.

18:26
platform that several covered vaccines have use for flu and whether that’s a possibility in the future, So that we can get a more effective flu vaccine, as well as a faster vaccines or better. Flu vaccines, I think, are an important priority.

18:43
The second important priority is just to increase the uptake rate of seasonal influenza vaccine over the last decade. If you look at uptake rates, they’re usually around 40 to 50%. So, certainly an area that we want to do better with respect to promotion.

18:58
Of course, vaccine hesitancy plays a role there and I’m sure that’s a topic that we’re going to be talking about. But that’s an important area for the federal government.

19:06
And then third is just continued pandemic preparedness And there are many agencies in the federal government that have an important role there. Asper has a critical role within Health and Human Services.

19:18
Asper recently released the National Influenza Vaccine Modernization Strategy, which also relates to pandemic preparedness. The current White House has recently released a robust $65 billion Pandemic Preparedness Plan that has many foreign elements.

19:34
The CDC, as you know, is moving forward with a new National Center for Epidemic Forecasting and outbreak analysis. So, there are many important developments there at the federal level. I’ll just end by saying, most recently, the Bipartisan Policy Center.

19:49
one of our task forces released a set of recommendations related to positioning the public health system for the next pandemic, focused on increased inter-governmental co-ordination, showing up our public health data infrastructure and financing our public health infrastructure. But one recommendation, they are related to: add an international border on pandemic preparedness, that would set some metrics to ensure that we’re prepared gage how we’re doing on an annual basis. And then report to Congress. So again, I think I think focusing on pandemic preparedness pandemic flu preparedness is absolutely going to be critical as well.

20:25
So those are a couple of opening remarks on the important federal role, vis-a-vis seasonal as well as endemic influences.

20:36
Thank you for that overview, doctor …. Now, I’m going to turn it over to doctor Tan.

20:42
Thank you. very much. Image. Appreciate that. And now I just want to follow up on what had just said, is that this idea that no annual readiness in terms of influenza vaccination equates to pandemic preparedness? And I think that’s that’s something that I think we need to keep emphasizing as we now shift the conversation to talk a little bit about seasonal influenza. Next slide, please.

21:02
So, just to remind everybody, in, this, has already been mentioned by the Senator. Thank you, so much. Then, or the national, again, for your interest in influenza. We talk about this illness: that’s at the bottom of that right hand pyramid, the number of illnesses that that is that occurs Every year, as a result of influenza A, and this is the burden of influenza over the last 10 years. But, I think on top of that, we want to remind ourselves of the hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and tens of thousands of deaths that are resulting from flu. And, I think we want to remind ourselves that, while we look for a better flu vaccine, and Absolutely, and, and I agree with you what you want. The flu better flu vaccine, we have a good enough vaccine right now that we need to keep using.

21:38
Because that flu vaccine may, while it may only be 20 to 60% effective at preventing those illnesses, it is incredibly effective at preventing the hospitalizations and deaths in the event you get flu, and you’ve been vaccinated.

21:53
Then, the other thing I want to remind everybody also is this concept that you know adults over 65 account, for a lot of our hospitalizations and a lot of our deaths. So, next slide, please.

22:03
So, what I wanted to talk about quickly with the recursive conversations about vaccine effectiveness is this idea that, with the older adults, the conversation should not just be about preventing illness, it should be about improving quality of life. If you look at this Fealty Index, it talks about how, when you get older, you begin to decline on this index towards the bottom where you are in a walker or in a wheelchair. And the goal of obviously, preventive care to prevent you from going down the slide and thanks to John … for sharing this slide with me. So, if we’re talking about this next slide, please.

22:35
What kinda prevent someone from sliding down that frailty curve? We want to be able to say, hey, we want to talk about keeping your glass half full with exercise and diet and smoking cessation to keep you going up this curve. We need to add influenza vaccination there as well. And, what I often like to say is, you know, If you don’t get your flu vaccine this fall, are you willing to risk of independence this winter? Next slide, please, Tracy.

23:00
So, what are we expecting this upcoming flu season, as you’ve already kind of heard from our wonderful speakers already, A flu will likely be back and the reason for this is, as a mesh pointed out, you know, covert mitigation measures worked, but they’ve been relaxed. As many of you know. And with the relaxation of these covert mitigation measures, we’re going to have the assumption of flu season. And in fact, we have warning signals of the respiratory pathogens such as RSV, that disappeared last season, They’re already coming back now that said, we have no idea how severe this next flu season will be. Although there is some speculation that could be pretty bad because of the lack of the environmental boosting that we would have seen last season. But we didn’t see it because we didn’t, I flew, right. So we didn’t get that engagement with the pathogen or the disease. And so as a result, our immune system may be less ready this upcoming fall but that speculation a little bit. But what I’m not going to speculate is I think influenza and sars Kobi two viruses will likely cause circulate. You’ll likely get co-infection with both.

23:57
And, when you have flew on top of Sarkozy, Sauce Coby, two Delta Variants, at the same time, as already heard, this will likely increase the burden on the health care system. It will result in illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths. On, next slide, please. So where are we?

24:11
We’re back to this whole idea of hashtag Avoid. The two endemic hatch tactic flew off the table. Again, because we said this last season, we’re gonna say it again this season. These overlapping, high risk conditions, using fluid. Coburn 19 that … talked about, makes it critical that we protect against both flu and cover 19. They are both vaccine preventable diseases.

24:32
And importantly, they are both vaccine preventable deaths.

24:36
because the vaccine is extremely effective at helping you not die from these diseases.

24:41
Are two endemic, affluent Coburn 19 will create search capacity issues for our healthcare systems. But we do know from the previous system that season that if we have a strong, unified national message to seek flu vaccination, we can improve vaccination coverage rates.

24:57
So what does that mean for all of us? Right?

24:59
We need to emphasize that after giving Coburn 19 vaccine, you’re not done yet.

25:03
You need the flu and vice versa.

25:06
If someone comes in for flu, you are not done yet. Have you thought about the Coburn 19 vaccine?

25:11
And in order to accomplish getting everyone vaccinated, we need to have varied and innovative access points so that people can get vaccine in multiple locations.

25:21
And then, for flu, in particular, we need to remember that flu vaccine given into December and January, as stipulated by the CDC, is still beneficial. And so we need to keep vaccinating until every dose of flu vaccine is administered, So we do not want to stop after Thanksgiving. We wanted to keep on going.

25:38
Next slide, please.

25:42
So this is the three prong approach to combat flu. This season, I’m going to wrap up with this. You want to vaccinate to prevent flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths. We know that works with, then, if someone does get flu, We want to treat with the antivirals promptly, especially if that person has a high risk high risk flow condition. And then finally, we want to continue all those the everyday infection control interventions that we’ve been doing, right? The things with staying away from others have six cups, it, covering coughs, wearing, masks, if that’s what your local government it’s recommending. We know that works.

26:14
Next slide, please.

26:18
And so finally, I’m gonna leave this up as I wrap up and just talk about the four myths performance does that I addressed here on this slide, but there are many more that we can talk about into Q and A’s. And so just stuck you can take a look at this, about whether the flu will give me the flu shot. We know that’s not possible because it’s made from in inactive viruses are viruses that are not infectious. I’m healthy. I don’t need the flu shot. Hey, as the vaccine, as the Senator has already told, us, many people die every year from flu and many more, get sick.

26:47
I’ve never had the flu Every year up to 20% of Americans get the flu. So do you want to run Do you want to run that risk again, rolling the dice? And then, of course, as we talked about, the flu vaccine doesn’t work. We know what we talked about with effectiveness. It’s not just about preventing illnesses. It’s about preventing hospitalizations deaths and improving quality of life, especially for those over 65.

27:08
So thank you so very much for the attention, and I will turn this back over to you.

27:14
Thank you, doctor Tan. Now, I’m going to turn it over to Ms. Jennifer Miller.

27:27
Jennifer. I think you’re muted on your, your ear pods. Thanks.

27:36
Yes, I’m sorry, can you hear me now? We can, thanks.

27:40
OK, I have a team.

27:43
Familiar with families citing flu. After my healthy five year old daughter became critically ill from influenza. And if you wouldn’t mind sharing the next slide, I’d appreciate it.

27:56
The following slide.

27:59
And I just wanted to share a little bit about my daughter, Caroline. She was a very active and healthy physically fit. five year old. She swam five times a week and hopes of making it on the same competitive swim team that are older daughter that her older sister Katie was on and she truly had never been sick. The only time she went to your pediatrician was for well visits and routine vaccination.

28:22
However, on a random afternoon in December of 2012, what started off, minor sinus congestion and light cough turned into labored breathing.

28:33
And, in just a matter of hours, she would need to go to our local ER where she was diagnosed with influenza A and double pneumonia.

28:42
After diagnosis, we were told shortly thereafter, that she would need to be transported yet again to another hospital one with a dedicated pediatric unit, And once there caroline’s condition deteriorated rapidly, she was beginning to have difficulty breathing on our own. And there was discussion of incubation. And for better clarification, I remember calling our pediatrician. And just saying, hey, you know, they’re talking about the possibility of intubation.

29:09
And I, you know, I mean, I’m getting quite alarmed and quite scared, and I’m not sure where to go from here. And he said, I know I’ve been on the phone with them for the last hour, and I’m in the parking lot. And the reason I share that with you is because I can remember being so touched that he would come and leave his busy.

29:33
He’s busy practice in New York City and drive in busy New York City traffic to get to us in New Jersey.

29:43
But after I’m having that thought, I’m thinking, OK. Why would he come do this unless we were in a dire emergency, it was at the same time that my husband also trying to have a better understanding of what was going on.

29:57
Because things, we’re moving so rapidly, that he stopped the chief of pediatrics in the hallway, and he said, Sir, can you please explain to us what’s going on here? I don’t, I think there’s a misunderstanding. Our daughter, Caroline, is here for the flu. And the doctor turned to him. And he said, Sir, over 50,000 people die of influenza each year, And he walked away.

30:17
And I just remember feeling like the oxygen had been taken out of the room. Because I had never in my entire life, heard that statistic.

30:28
And I had no idea that doubt the number that would affect young, healthy individuals, let alone someone like my child. Caroline was in need of an oscillating ventilator, a special machine that was only available to larger children’s hospitals in the area.

30:45
And so she was airlifted to children Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the middle of the night without her mom or dad.
30:52
But instead, with a team of strangers that promise, they do everything in their power to keep her safe.

30:57
And the list of what Caroline was facing was long and frightening, double pneumonia, sepsis, hypoxia, impending cardio respiratory failure, and she would spend two weeks in the … pediatric ICU, fighting for her life all as a result of flu.

31:14
Caroline had been vaccinated against the flu every single year, except for that particular year. The flu vaccine wasn’t readily available in early fall at her school year, and once the busy first year of kindergarten began, I fully admit, it fell off my radar. And it’s a mistake. that nearly stole my child’s life, Caroline. I’m happy to report, made a full recovery.

31:37
And, without a doubt, her survival is by far, like being on the receiving end of life’s winning lottery ticket.

31:45
But admittedly, it’s a hollow victory when you realize how many other well deserving and well loved individuals do not receive the same happy ending.

31:56
I’m incredibly thankful to our pediatricians, and all the forward thinking doctors, and nurses for ultimately placing Caroline on the path that would give her the best chance to survive this terrible disease. But simply relying on lock and close proximity to an adequate medical center and getting seen by the right people at the right time is not any way to combat influenza. It is not a game you want to play.

32:23
Next slide, please.

32:27
How the slide here shows the day that Caroline actually came out of her drug induced coma and to L to L Js point, even, even once somebody comes out of recovery.

32:44
Um, it’s a huge recovery afterwards.

32:47
And so just to highlight that, you know, Caroline lost over 50% of her muscle muscle mass.

32:55
She was unable to walk assisted for about a week or two, which again, is nothing compared to what some of our other families from FEMA funding to deal with with. It shows the ultimate loss of their loved one, but we share these stories to let other people know what we didn’t know. I was raised in a family of medicine. My father was a pharmacist, and my mom was a nurse. And we as a family wholeheartedly believe in vaccines, including the influenza vaccine. Yet, I had no idea how important the timing of the flu vaccine was. And I most certainly had no idea that anywhere between 12 and 60,000 people die from contracting each year. And that number includes young, healthy, individuals like my daughter, Caroline.

33:42
That’s why it’s so important for each of us to share this information with our families, our friends, our co-workers, our patients, every opportunity we get. one thing that we try to strongly impress upon others is that a recommendation is, unfortunately, still a recommendation. So any chance you have an opportunity to discuss it, with your friends, if it comes up in conversation, make the indication that, yes, every year, you must receive your flu vaccine, and specifically, health care workers. You’re such a trusted individual. Please make that recommendation. Every time you have a patient in front of you, it means so very much.

34:18
As I sat in Caroline Hospital room for days, I kept asking myself how did we get here? How is it that I live in an area with some of the great hospitals in the nation, and yet my child is clinging to life? And, at that very moment, I made a promise to myself and to my child, and my family, and ultimately, ultimately, my God, that I would do everything in my power to get the word out about the importance of getting vaccinated annually. By sharing my family’s story, it’s my great hope that another family doesn’t experience what minded.

34:51
Next slide.

34:56
In this slide, just illustrates, it’s a collage of just some of the families that are a part of the organization. These pictures illustrate that flu does not discriminate. All of us are at risk from flu regardless of age, ethnicity, lifestyle, or gender. And our goal is to share our stories and hopes of preventing these tragedies from happening to other families.

35:16
Next slide.

35:19
And this is just a sample site of some of the posters and educational toolkits and flu factsheets that we offer on our website. They can all be digitally downloaded or or you can order them. And we, we use these in school clinics. We use these in doctor’s offices.

35:38
We have companies that try to utilize our deliverables, even in their offices in order to vaccinate their employees, but, you know, it’s just imperative that the public must be educated and remind reminded that flu is a very serious and highly contagious disease. And I really just try to remind mind people that we have the power to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities. We have the power to protect our health by doing one simple thing, and that’s by getting our flu vaccine each and every year. It’s safe and it’s the most effective way of preventing flu, and ultimately flu complications that can lead to hospitalization hospitalizations and even death. I so appreciate your time this afternoon.

36:28
Thank you so much, Jennifer. Now, we’re going to take some questions from the audience. Remember, you can use the questions panel of the audience interface to submit your questions at any time.

36:39
And while the questions are populating, I’m gonna start with a few of our own key questions that we want to to handle.

36:48
And the first one, I think, that is interesting, because I kind of hinted at it earlier regarding, what the synergies are between flu and covert 19. And I think I can start by just asking the panel, Is there now a brighter future for flu prevention mitigation? How can we continue to support advancement of innovation after the urgency of covert 19th has subsided? I think this gets to that momentum, all the efforts that have been put in place with diagnostics and vaccine outreach. How do we keep that going?

37:16
So anybody want to start with that?

37:22
Do you want to go?

37:24
Sure. I can, I can start us off by just saying again. I think it comes down to, it’s not a question of if, but when and, and we need to be ready for the next pandemic and we can’t lose this moment.

37:35
All the gains that we’ve made in terms of vaccine manufacturing, surveillance detection.

37:41
All of that can be and should be used for for flu preparedness as well. I think we’ve learned a lot of lessons from called it.

37:49
Some of these are the importance of non pharmacologic interventions like masking and social distancing particularly during a pandemic. And, that obviously influence flu season last year as well.

37:59
We’re learning a lot about the importance of vaccines but vaccine hesitancy is probably another area that that that concerns me. I’m concerned that some of the vaccine hesitancy.

38:13
With respect to cope, it may have spillover effects with respect to fluid.

38:17
And I think we need to redouble our efforts to really ensure that we promote flu vaccine.

38:24
Because as as LJ and Jennifer have said, the flu vaccine absolutely saves lives and reduces hospitalizations.

38:33
Yeah. If I could just follow up with that, I think there’s also a lot of what we’ve already spent a lot of money and building an infrastructure for immunizations, because of Coburn 19. I think the goal here in their bills out there now, is to sustain that infrastructure, right? To not give not to pull everything back when the crisis disappears. Which is kinda what we did when we got 2009 H 1 N 1. We built an infrastructure, and then we pulled it away. And, so, I think, we want to maintain and sustain the infrastructure that we built here because, not only does it work for Cove in 19 40. All suggested, it works for flu, and it works for all the other vaccine preventable diseases that we still need to get into our adults, our adolescents, and our children as well. So, I think sustaining this, this momentum is incredibly important with some of the bills that are going to the Hill in some of the infrastructure bills as well. So I think that’s really important to consider.

39:21
I would just add my as moderators privilege, the clinical testing paradigm, I think, is something we want to continue. We want to get better at diagnosing flu because that links people to antiviral therapy, that gives us better surveillance, and this is also true for other respiratory illnesses. We’ve got to move out of this idea where we don’t care what respiratory virus somebody has, because maybe they’re gonna get better, we want to know. I think we’ve got to keep up the momentum with the home tests, which we have now for covert need to expand to flu and to other respiratory illnesses. And now I’m going to take an audience question.

39:51
This one says, carolyn’s story is powerful, but the issue is the response that you will never happen to me.

39:57
Which my son-in-law Heinz so rampant in his congregation, in Cordova Lean, Idaho, for those folks, facts do not matter. In fact, they have, they feel facts have a Liberal bias. What can we do? I think this has become the story not just with flu. But also with the pandemic that this is very difficult to get through. It’s kind of a new paradigm we’re facing.

40:16
Any thoughts from the panel?

40:19
Yes.

40:20
I think, I think that’s why it’s so important to share the story, the personal stories, whether you’re a doctor with a patient, or even sharing it with, you know, when we leave this call today, to share, Oh, you know, you’ll never believe I heard this story today. And it seems like such a silly thing, but it’s something about a story with the data that is completely compelling, because oftentimes it’s why shared photos of my child. I know that’s not something I typically do with strangers, But I want them to CDC. This is a healthy, very vibrant child. And if your child five, maybe that resonates with you, oh, I have a kindergartener at home. Or are other stories where it’s a 36 year old, non vaccinated or children. But didn’t vaccinate herself and ultimately lost her life. It’s sharing the story with the data that makes it that much more powerful, and that much more memorable because I am just speaking from layman’s term. The numbers are very important.

41:17
But we tend to forget a number, but a face last forever. And I really think if you can impress upon them that this is a human being, just like your family members, whether it’s your child, your mother, your grandfather, know, across the lifespan. That’s what I feel like a hit home and had a little bit more weight.

41:37
Can also just jump in on that, I mean, we’ve been wrestling with vaccine confidence issues. And, but, the distance, what’s happened with … is really reminded us about the power of combining the story, as Jennifer said, but with the data, right. I think this is the thing where we started with vaccine confidence at the very beginning of this whole issue. I think what we, as you know, academics, public health app gets clinicians, physicians, such as, as, as, you know, you and on and on our, you know, we, we, we said, You know, we can’t believe that.

42:04
People will believe a story. that’s not truth, that’s not based on facts. But I think what we forgot was that a story can be inaccurate, and it will still change minds. And the story can be totally non factual, and will still move people, and this was really hard for us to accept. But I think now we’re reaching this really fine balance of what Jennifer suggesting that we have our stories, so that we can move people, and change minds.

42:26
But our stories are founded, in fact, whereas there’s, I’m not, and I think this is something that we need to continue to leverage, I’ll just briefly add that, you know.

42:35
I think it’s the message, and the messenger, and in this case, Jennifer’s a powerful story based on our experience, but as you all upset healthcare professionals, faith based leaders, your friends, families, community based organizations, you know, the message coming from them. trusted messengers are absolutely critical in conjunction with that message.

43:00
I always say to people that the facts, logic reason, rationality are always on the sides of the vaccine. So that gives this, gives us to kind of the biggest advantage. When we’re in these kinds of debates, when we’re talking to people who are vaccine hesitant, it’s just about showing people that the data and and the way that they can actually appreciate it.

43:17
So I think the next question would ask you something. I think we hinted at a little bit, but we’ll talk a little bit more about.

43:23
So I think you talked about the vaccine hesitancy, maybe bleeding into some covert into flu vaccines. And my knowledge, I don’t think, during this last flu season, which was pretty mild, that we had a big drop off in flu vaccination rates.

43:37
I don’t know if we’ve got to do it, but my my general impression was that we did pretty well this last season, when it came to flu vaccination rates, but have we seen any drop off, or what do you predict, will be the uptake to the panel of Flu Vaccine Now, in This Post coven situation?

43:53
That’s a great question. I mentioned I just ask that to L J right before. Today, today’s webinar and I hope you’re right and he can probably respond.

44:03
My concern is that the polarization of the pandemic is increased Steven from the last year and again, we need to get the message out that that image, as you said, …, as well as flu, are two separate and important. Infectious diseases that are vaccine preventable, that we need to make sure that all eligible Americans. And for flu, That’s that’s everyone.

44:25
Over the age of six months gets their vaccine. So I think it’s just ensuring that we have consistent messaging.

44:34
But but I am a little bit concerned about this year given the vaccine hesitancy we’ve seen with Coburn. And again, that’s why these kinds of webinars and discussions are so important to get the word out.

44:46
And I tend to add to that, as well. It’s, one of you mentioned that it’s not just the message in the Messenger, that that is every bit as important. And I think, depending on who the Messenger is, whether you said it’s a trusted leader in the community or a doctor. I think a lot of times the hesitancy can be combated with just asking questions. Because I think we hear a no, or I don’t want it.

45:11
And then we kinda canceled off our list because we know there’s so much work to be done with people that are open minded, but honestly, a lot of time, just a discussion to understand what are their concerns, You know, asking the extra question, and giving them some chance, a chance.

45:26
Because really, we’re all coming about it from the theme angle, right? Ultimately, everybody wants to keep their family and community safe.

45:34
So, you know, perhaps asking those additional questions, and being able to answer them effectively with base data, that would be extremely helpful.

45:45
Yeah, I think that’s, I can’t, I don’t, have much to add to that up. To say that, you know, this whole idea that, you know, we’re using this concept of motivational interviewing for a lot of our clinicians now. Because I think it’s really important to not just try to spew facts. Because we know that that’s not enough, right? And so the idea of motivational interviewing is this concept of listening with empathy, right? I love, I love this statement. You want to listen not to respond. You want to listen to understand.

46:13
I think that’s so fundamental. If our clinicians are listening to understand, then they can get to the motivations of why someone is saying, I don’t want the flu vaccine.
46:21
Then that will then help you get into there, And, finally, the idea of motivational interviewing. So, you then empower that patient to make that decision.

46:27
Based on you being empathetic and listening to me, I am not listing back to you, and now I’m deciding, These are the things I’m going to do to get my flu vaccines, so, So, I think, I think you’re absolutely right, Jennifer. I think I think clinicians are getting there. I think we’re continuing to work on that. I always have to remind everybody that you know, our healthcare workers or healthcare providers were not trained on risk management and risk communication. That’s not what they did in medical school or a nursing school, but now we’re asking them to do all this. So, so I think it’s a, it’s a slow, gradual slope. So, I hope emission.

46:58
As this vaccine hesitancy continues to increase, our providers are also getting wiser and smarter with the way they communicate.

47:10
Now, we’ve got to audience questions that they’re very clinical. So, as a clinical practicing infectious disease, doctor, I’m going to try, and I’m going to take the first stab at them, and if people want to add, they can.

47:20
The first is, How can you distinguish between flu and covert symptoms, and if someone is infected with both illnesses, can two viruses exchange genes, are the health effects cumulative?

47:29
So the short answer is, you can’t distinguish between coven, 19 and Flew without a diagnostic tests. I can’t do it. No one can do it. They have so many overlapping symptoms, and none of the differences are that reliable that You wouldn’t want to test for both. Or make sure that your ruling out one when the other, because it’s two different treatment pathways, You gotta keep that straight, because if you don’t give someone, for example, an antiviral for flu, they can have a worse outcome. The virus is although they have the respiratory viruses, they come from two different families. So they don’t really swap genes, they’re not able to do that. But it is true that people can get co-infected with both of them, and I’ve seen co-infections. It’s unclear whether their severity is worse than there. There’s anecdotal reports both ways, because sometimes viruses interfere with each other.

48:10
So that’s that. So these are just really, we need to continue to be vigilant for both into test for both. And then somebody just asked about co administering the vaccines. What are the thoughts a clinician should know? Do they need to be timed?

48:22
Need to be in different arms. No, they don’t, They can be given at the same time, which makes it really convenient. And I think Jay talked about that, that you’re not done yet. If you get your flu vaccine, you need to get your covert vaccine and vice versa. That makes it really, really convenient. And there are companies that are actually studying co formulations with flu encoded in the same shot. So I will turn it over the panel if they want to add anything. I just thought I would handle that clinical question quickly.

48:46
I have nothing to add. Thank you so much.

48:49
I’ll just add that what we’ve, what we’re really trying to do at Family Fighting Flu is that obviously, we always tell, first and foremost, your best chances prevented preventing diseases by vaccination. But one recommendation we are trying to really say, every time we’re speaking in front of somebody, is to ask for that task.

49:09
Because, on it, from a parent’s perspective, there have been many times subsequent to caroline’s illness, where she had symptoms. We went into, let’s say, an urgent care. And they won’t test for flu. And I’ve had to request the test for flu. And I understand they’ve got a million things going on. But I think two things need to happen.

49:27
one, there needs to be routine testing, but to I think the general public needs to recognize that they can ask for that and advocate for their family member and say, Look, I realize you may not see flu in the area. But I am curious to know, could you please test for flu, you know, in addition to strap or whatever else, they’re going to test and that with it.

49:47
I love that, Jennifer. I think that’s really important. I think self advocacy, if we can encourage that, not just for testing, but also for, you know, I want the flu vaccine. Can you talk to me, doctor about the flu? vaccine is important to just, you know, sometimes like you said, busy clinician, they’re gonna, there’s sometimes it falls off the radar. And I think it’s interesting, because I miss you mentioned about surveillance, right? We are really good at emphasizing to third world countries that you need to have surveillance for influenza, because if you don’t know you have fluid, you don’t think it’s important. Yet, yet, internally, in our first of all a country, we don’t really do that great of a job of surveying for our own flew out, So I think all the CDC doesn’t really, really good job with their networks. I think, on the personal level, I agree with you, Jeff. I really would love to, to know what I have.

50:30
Yeah, I think that’s, that’s a great point, because I wish patients would say to their doctor, when they say, You’ve got some virus, which the patient say, Well, which virus?

50:37
because that will get that, will lead you down a great pathway to figure out what’s going on, it helps us surveillance, public health, lots of things.

50:43
So, the next question is, from the audience, how do we address those individuals who believe that last winter, there were significant numbers of people nationwide were diagnosed with covert actually had the flu, thus decreasing the, the incident rate of the flu? Just just from my own personal experience, I took care of one flu case over the entire since since this pandemic has makes and basically it’s March of 2020. So, I think that this is a question that lots of people have, but, in my personal experience, that really was very little slow. But, I’ll let the panel away into.

51:13
I can just jump in, and CDC has the statistics on the number of tests that were done over the course of the flu season. In fact, influenza testing did not decline. It stayed at least the same, if not went up. So, it’s so it’s not like we tested less. We tested the same. What we did see was very much less positive samples. And that’s and so it was about last flu and it was not about covert being misdiagnosis.

51:38
I think it also just shows the important role that masking to break change in transmission and social distancing pad it, and, I think, as we look at it, towards this flu season, Ensuring that as we continue to vaccinate the American public with respect to …, as well as flu, that we, that we be smart and we be safe.

51:58
Because, because, again, these are, these are preventable cases and bendable that we’re trying to avoid.

52:08
Next question. Another good clinical question. Can you say something about the best timing for getting the flu vaccine? How quickly does it, Wayne and wedge of weather?

52:16
There could be a need for a booster depending on how long the flu season last.

52:20
Just my bias towards justice, I get my flu shot in October. But the best time to get the flu shot is when you can get it. So if you can get it, if they only get it in September, Get into september. There has been some data on waning. But it’s not enough to change the recommendations regarding regarding the fact that we just need to get a single shot, and people not necessarily worrying about the timing yet. But I’ll let the panel land on their own thoughts on that.

52:45
Completely agree, You get it when you can get it.

52:49
Yup.

52:49
And just to emphasize, if you, you know, don’t wait to give someone a specific brand of flu vaccine. If you’ve got another brand that’s appropriate for that person, because you don’t want to lose that opportunity to vaccinate somebody either, and that, you know, and as has already been emphasized, ACIP has stated clearly optimal months remain September and October. But they’ve also very sensitive, very clearly that that there’s beneficent benefits to flu vaccination throughout the influenza season even when this flu virus circulating. So, so, you know, you can vaccinate in December in January and February. Right? Remembering more than half of our flu season tickets are in February.

53:28
So, next question is kind of a bigger, broader one. What can policymakers and providers do to ensure that future flu responses are equitable in regards to resources deployed, access to vaccines and our treatment, and approach to hesitation and misinformation? Which population should be targeting to help eliminate disparities in flu vaccination uptake in disease mortality?

53:56
I think there are sort of a number of subpopulations to focus on, and we can think about sort of income we can think about geography, but but in terms of racial ethnic minorities, I think it is we’re talking about, I think we’ve seen with covert over the last 18 months, racial ethnic minorities, having a disproportionate number of cases because of health inequities. And then it just portion number of deaths because of health disparities.

54:21
The same can be said with blue, when it comes to seasonal flu. Vaccine uptake rates are months away from that. Minorities are lower, yet they have a higher rate of hospitalizations intensive care units emissions, as well as stats. And this is even more striking for kids. So it’s kids and adults, but particularly for kids, and so I think we need to continue.

54:42
Understanding the health disparities here.

54:45
This get gets back to sort of trusted messengers, having the message the right messages, and having the right messengers.

54:51
But really focusing on subpopulations where there are disparities, increase vaccination, uptake rates, and we need that, for coven 19. We need that for flu, as well.

55:03
That’s definitely something we have.

55:05
We discuss at families fighting flu quite a bit, and, no, it’s a necessity to increase options for all populations to get vaccinated.

55:15
And, I know many times, whether it’s a flu clinic or a mobile clinic, or even, you know, if we can continue to no increased access to pharmacies, you know, a lot of rural areas don’t even have access to a hospital, But they very well may have, let’s say, a Wal-Mart with pharmacy or a Walgreens, and to be able to take your family and to get vaccinated in that area in that setting would be, you know, I think it would be tremendously helpful.

55:46
And I, and I know even since Caroline was sick in 20 12 pharmacies, there have been great strides in vaccinating but I know it changes state to state as far as eligibility and age. Correct.

56:02
Yeah, most definitely with age, Jennifer, but obviously, most farm, Every pharmacy can can immunize 18 and older, but you’re right, it does vary from state to state. with regards to how far below 18 you can go. I just want to also tickets that, that I totally agree with you. Jennifer says, Access access is the issue. And if we can create novel, innovative access points, which we’ve been learning with Culver, 19 you, know, we can at least create access and take, hopefully, take that off the table. And then we can work on when work on that trusted messenger and so on and so forth. You know, the final part of that question was about who should we target? And I think I think we want to keep in mind the really interesting, overlapping populations, right? So chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are all high risk conditions for severe complications from flu. And, unfortunately, they are also high.

56:48
Risk conditions are very present in, across, across many of our populations, but also in disparate populations, such as the african american and latin X populations, as well. So, I think, I think we really need to focus on those two groups, the african American and Latino populations, where we have data that show that they are not vaccinated at the same level at, let’s say, the White and Asian populations. And then also within that, focused on heart disease, diabetes, and caught and COPD because those are huge drivers of hospitalizations. And then, of course, death.

57:19
Right. So next, I have a question of my own. I’m going to direct it to a non, because he mentioned this. You talked about the fact that you’ve got metrics for that, when you have metrics for preparedness. And one of the things, I think, that’s happened during coven 19 is we realized that we’ve got this Global Health Security Index, for example. How prepare countries are, in the US, was the most prepared country, because we got the best toolbox. We’ve got so many tools.

57:40
How do we prevent the, our toolbox is from not be from being underutilized. And I think that’s probably the biggest lesson that I’ve taken from coven 19, as someone involved in this response.

57:49
Is that no matter how great the toolbox is. If we don’t have leaders that are willing to deploy it, it’s going to end up being bad, It’s going to be just as bad as if we didn’t have that toolbox.

57:59
Yeah, I think you’re exactly right.

58:00
I mean, we can do, we can be great on paper as we were, I think ranked number one out of 198, and that’s really the difference between capacity and capability, You know, you may have the capacity, but the capability requires, you’re right, that the political will, you know, co-ordination across all levels, you know, following the evidence acting, in a timely fashion.

58:24
So, I think where we really fell short here, I mean, I think that always or pandemic planning could be improved, but it was really the implementation.

58:32
And, you know, I started my federal career backing 2005 after adding l-gen. It’s probably when we first met.

58:39
And we were focused at that time on H 5 N 1 avian influenza concerned that that would be the pandemic.

58:44
And, you know, so it’s been 15 years across multiple administrations now, and then go on to preparedness.

58:53
And I think there were there was a lot of good work done. And some of it was used to respond to H 1 N 1, Some of it was instrumental for coven.

59:03
But I think more than the planning, I think, MFA, it’s really the implementation piece where we where we fell short. So, I agree with you, and I think that, as part of the equation, So, when we think about metrics, it just can’t be static metrics focused on capacity.

59:19
It has to be really extra doing exercises doing, drills, assessing, capability that will give us more real-time information and data as to How prepared, are we?

59:31
And, now, And if I can also just jump on that and remind us what the seasonal side of it. You know, it is actually, it is exactly implementation. Right? A good friend of mine reminds me that vaccines don’t do anything unless they end up in noses in arms.

59:49
I think that’s going to be a major challenge going forward is trying to figure out how prepared is enough and, you know, and how do we assure the same mistakes don’t happen again.

59:57
And with that in mind, in thinking about seasonal and pandemic influenza, what do you think the biggest gaps are in the federal government’s role right now? What would you, if you could change one thing that the federal government does when it comes to seasonal and pandemic flu, what would it be?

1:00:17
I’ll let an un lead off on that one.

1:00:21
Well, I’ll just not to repeat myself. I think I mentioned a couple of priorities at the outset, but, but, I think, you know, increasing uptake of the current vaccine adding is critical.

1:00:31
Over time, you know, continuing to improve the effectiveness of the vaccine.

1:00:35
I think we want to do that for all that saenz, realize that we import an interplay between seasonal and pandemic influenza and that continuing to promote the vaccine, not letting it get trapped in the vaccine hesitancy.

1:00:48
… that we’ve seen with the covert 19 Vaccine, I think, is, is, Is all going to be critical thinking.

1:00:54
The only other point I’ll make is, you know, I went through sort of all the important agencies across the federal government, and there are others who have an important role, but co-ordination is just so important.

1:01:05
Asper provides that at Health and Human Services.

1:01:08
I think the White House is really important role as well.

1:01:11
So, fostering co-ordination and collaboration across the executive branch, It’s just, it’s hard, but it’s just so so important.

1:01:21
I’ll just jump in, and, Jennifer, I didn’t want to just make sure I didn’t cut you off there. I’m sorry, but I’m going to just jump in and, say, no, and co-ordination across the federal agencies, but then, ultimately, in the flu sector, right? We’ve got a lot of stakeholders. I mean, I chair the summit, where we have 130 national organizations, all all interested in improving influenza immunization rates. And I think the goal there is, and this is where we’re working to, because we’re not there yet is co-ordinating across all off sectors. Because I think we all know what we want to get to, and we all know how to do this. It’s just how do we make it the most efficient that we can be.

1:01:55
And that is, you know, pharmacy, home, health care long term care, private clinical practices, emergency departments, hospitals. I mean, we’ve got all these places that we can leverage, not to mention all these mass immunization clinics, that we’re not good at doing, right. So how do we co-ordinate all of that and make sure that there’s access? This is what was key.

1:02:18
Right, so I’ve got an audience question, which I’ll take the first run app, because it’s something in my field set that I’ve been working on myself. So, how can the federal government facilitate development of at home diagnostics for flu? Like we have now for covert, what are the hurdles? So, I worked on a big project and if you just Google my name right at Home Diagnostics, you’ll see a big report I wrote I was very interested in is prior to the pandemic because I thought it would be really something that would empower people to know their diagnosis. Especially for flu get antiviral treatment, improve surveillance and improve outcomes. And there were two companies, actually, that BARDA which we’d heard about before the Biomedical Advanced Research Development Agency within HHS, had funded before the pandemic to make these at home tests. They were PCR tests and they are moving along pretty well. Pandemic came along.

1:02:58
And a lot of that kinda got pushed aside, but we did end up like home tests for …. And I think that there’s now a willingness by the regulators to do to have this happen, because in the past, the only test you could infectious disease, you could test for homeless HIV. And that took a company about 10 years to get through the FDA with successive steps trying to make it simpler, and easier to convince the FDA that this can be done safely. But I think this has to be the paradigm, and not just for flu.

1:03:22
I think for many other respiratory viruses like RSV, like a group, a chef, a bacterial infection. All of that would be done because we’ve shown it can work with …, and I think we really get great benefits. But the big hurdle is actually trying to show regulator. This is something that can be done, but this is that can be done safely and that they have to be more open to kinda democratizing diagnostic testing. And I think it would go a long way to making us much more resilient to seasonal infections as well as to pandemic threats. But I’ll let the panel away and if they have any other comments.

1:03:54
I just re-iterate, the fact that it’s definitely a need, and it’s definitely a one, in terms of consumers, and brought up all the time, with families that we speak with, that, oftentimes, their loved one that ended up ultimately in the ER, or maybe didn’t even make it to an ER. I just wish that they had known, because we all know that. the statistics prove that, if you task, then you can be on your way to receiving antivirals, and, and, ultimately, you know, hopefully, better in a few days, so, yeah, it’s I think it’s imperative as it from a mom standpoint. I would totally keep this in the medicine chest next to the Advil, or what have you? I mean, it seems like a no-brainer. And it certainly would make it easier for busy parents, right, You know, to be able to test.

1:04:39
And then, once they see that their child has this, to make sure they get to their pediatrician or the local hospital.

1:04:50
Alright? So, you know what? On a surveillance, like I’d kill for that data. Can you imagine if you can have a real-world evidence type study using all these tests, where you can test and and look at actual incidents and disease? I think it’d be really cool.

1:05:05
So, we’re approaching the end of our time, I’m going to take one final question and we’ve been asked, from the audience multiple questions about getting both vaccines covert and flu.

1:05:16
So, if you can get sick from vaccines And if there’s a better delivery method, needle versus inhaled, just what do people think about that?

1:05:23
I’m I’ll let you guys handle handle that quick.

1:05:29
All jumping real fast. The, the, the, the only bad flu vaccine is the flu vaccines that that doesn’t end up in you.

1:05:36
So, take the one you can get and, you know, and get vaccine against the flu As we now know, and that’s been mentioned by these wonderful panelists altered also today, you can get both The Cove in 1009 Vaccine and the flu vaccine at the same clinical visit. So, be sure to ask for one or the other, and I like the you’re not done yet. You know, you’re not done yet. You got covered coming in for covered. You’re not done yet. What about flu Coverage For flu, You’re not done yet. What about code it? I think we need to emphasize that it. and you can get it both on the same day, and I think that’s important.

1:06:06
They just asked a little bit about what, Why do you feel sick after our panel that really quickly? That’s your immune system reacting to the vaccine, your immune system is getting revved up. It’s normal to feel somewhat injection site soreness, A, headache has some … aches and pains maybe a fever. That’s the vaccine working on your immune system. That’s normal, that’s not you getting the flu or getting covert from the vaccine.

1:06:32
So I think we’re going to we’re going to end now. But thank you all for your insights on this important topic. That unfortunately is all the time we have for today.

1:06:38
I want to thank our panelists for joining us this afternoon.

1:06:43
And join us next Tuesday.

1:06:45
It’s September 28th from 12 0 AM to one PM to learn more about pandemic preparedness and lessons learned from the pandemic.

1:06:54
Please take the time to complete a brief evaluation survey that you’ll receive immediately after the broadcast and as well as via e-mail later today.

1:07:01
And a recording of this webinar and additional material be available on the Alliance’s website non L J. And Jennifer, thank you for joining us.

1:07:09
Thank you.

1:07:12
He said, Yes, thank you.


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