As state health officials prepare to dispense the first trickle of H1N1 flu vaccine next week, a new report warns of gaps in preparation and resources that could swamp responders at the same time health budgets are being cut.
Fifteen states could run out of hospital beds if an epidemic strikes 35 percent of the population, according to a report released today (Oct. 1) by the Trust for America's Health, a nonprofit health advocacy group. States could also face vaccine shortages if a significant number of people start getting sick this month, the report said. A presidential advisory panel has estimated that the H1N1 flu could infect 30 to 50 percent of the population and kill up to 90,000 people, far more than the 40,000 who succumb to the flu in an average year.
The Trust for America's Health report underscores the need for more public health funding, better cooperation between governments and for more outreach to those most at risk from the flu, said Jeffrey Levi, the trust's executive director.
“We need to really address the nation's ability to provide mass care during disasters,” he said. “We cannot continue to take a band-aid approach to disaster response.”
Read the full report H1N1 Flu Cases Could Exhaust State Resources on Stateline.org.