Cuts in federal funding threaten public health emergency response
January 19, 2012
by Charles Taylor
Bay County, Mich.’s health department was able to vaccinate only 10 percent of its population during the H1N1 flu pandemic of 2009. The effort took nearly its entire staff working overtime for six weeks, according to Barbara MacGregor, the county’s health director.
“Let’s say the pandemic was worse,” she said. “Let’s say it was a more virulent strain of influenza, and the demand was such that we had to vaccinate a far greater percentage, it would have been very difficult.”Three years later, it might pose even more of a challenge as counties find their funding to detect and respond to disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies, at risk because of federal and state budget cuts.
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