CDC: save flu vaccine for high-risk groups till Oct 24

first_imgSep 1, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Because of continuing uncertainty about the supply of influenza vaccine this winter, federal health officials said today that inactivated flu vaccine should be reserved for high-risk groups until late October.”Beginning October 24, all persons will be eligible for vaccination,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.The groups recommended to get first use of inactivated vaccine include people aged 65 and older, those with chronic illness, nursing home residents, children aged 6 to 23 months, pregnant women, healthcare workers who provide direct patient care, and household contacts and caregivers of children younger than 6 months.However, people need not wait until Oct 24 to receive MedImmune’s live nasal-spray vaccine, FluMist, the CDC said. FluMist is licensed for healthy people between the ages of 5 and 49, except for pregnant women.The recommendation comes a day after the flu vaccine supply picture improved with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) approval of a GlaxoSmithKline vaccine and a positive report on Chiron’s progress in addressing problems at its flu vaccine production plant in England. The CDC said the recommendation was necessary because the overall vaccine supply and the timing of distribution remain uncertain.In today’s article, the CDC gives estimates of flu vaccine supplies for the United States that add up to a range of 89 million to 97 million doses. That includes 60 million doses from Sanofi Aventis, 18 million to 26 million from Chiron, 8 million from GlaxoSmithKline, and 3 million from MedImmune. (Yesterday, as reported here, a CDC spokesman had listed Sanofi Aventis’s expected production at 50 million doses instead of 60 million, yielding a total production estimate of 79 million to 87 million doses.)Last fall and winter, the loss of 48 million doses of vaccine expected from Chiron prompted an effort to reserve vaccine for high-risk groups until late in the flu season. Ultimately, 57 million Americans were vaccinated and about 3 million doses went unused. In the 2003-04 season, which also saw some shortages, about 87 million doses were available in the US market. The US supply in 2002-03 totaled about 95 million doses, according to the CDC.Yesterday the FDA said Chiron had made “significant progress” in addressing the contamination problems that had forced the company to cancel delivery of doses to the United States. But the agency said more work is needed to determine how many doses the company will be able to supply this year.CDC. Update: influenza vaccine supply and recommendations for prioritization during the 2005-06 influenza season. MMWR 2005 Sep 2;54(34):850 [Full text]See also:CDC’s Aug 6, 2005, recommendations on tiered use of flu vaccine in the event of a shortagehttp://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5430a4.htmlast_img read more

Corporate pandemic precaution advocacy: The time is now

first_img(CIDRAP Source Weekly Briefing) – Business continuity planners say they’re talking to their employees and other stakeholders about pandemic preparedness. Is it really happening?At the start of CIDRAP’s February 2007 Business Preparedness for Pandemic Influenza: Second National Summit in Orlando, 45% of attendees said communication was the most important preparedness priority for their company “beyond health and safety.” That ranked it No. 1. By the end of the conference, communication was No.1 by an even wider margin—67%.I asked participants which of two kinds of communication took precedence. One priority is a standby crisis communication plan—developed now so you’re ready to roll if and when a pandemic materializes. The other priority is a pandemic precaution advocacy rollout—actual communications, now, aimed at alerting employees and others to the risk, telling them what the company is doing, and urging them to get ready. The pandemic precaution advocacy rollout eked out a narrow victory, 32% to 30%, with 38% saying the two were equally important. These are the answers I wanted to hear, but I don’t trust that they reflect what’s really happening.Just about every time I’m invited to give a speech or run a workshop on pandemic communication, I ask my client whether I should focus mostly on crisis communication (“when the virus hits the fan”) or precaution advocacy (“getting ready together”). The usual choice is crisis communication. I have to argue hard for some attention to the prepandemic communication task of sounding the alarm.When I have a chance to run a workshop that covers both, I have learned the hard way to start with crisis communication. If the group works on precaution advocacy first, the messages it comes up with tend to be awfully mild—largely because participants haven’t imagined their way into a serious pandemic yet. Working first on crisis communication gives people a sense of the horrific messages they would have to deliver in the middle of a catastrophic pandemic. That sets a very different context for the second half of the program: “What can we say to people beforehand to help prepare for the exercise we just went through?”Good pandemic precaution advocacy now, in other words, can make pandemic crisis communication later a less impossible task. Not much of it seems to be happening yet from companies.What’s happening, what’s notIn fairness, some pandemic precaution advocacy is happening for some stakeholders. In particular, many companies are talking to their suppliers about pandemic preparedness—mostly in search of promises (unenforceable though they may be) to keep the supply chain filled no matter what. I hope the dialogue will move to a more realistic level, something like this: “We can manage without X and Y if we have to. What can we do together to make you likelier to be able to keep us supplied with Z?” But at least a dialogue is happening.Companies are less interested in initiating pandemic conversations with customers. I assume this is because companies don’t have good news for customers and are in no hurry to offer up bad news. “Don’t expect us to be able to meet your needs” isn’t a fun message to deliver. But in many cases, these crucial conversations are happening anyway, initiated by the customers.So far I have seen virtually no pandemic communication between companies and their shareholders. But the investor community may finally have pandemic risk on its radar screen. For a while, articles speculating on the likely economic impact of a severe pandemic became commonplace. As the lead sidebar article in this issue points out, the business press has lost interest in the pandemic story, at least for the moment. We can only hope that investors got the message already, and will start asking companies how prepared they are. The sooner the better.At the Orlando conference, Michael Evangelides, principal of Deloitte Consulting, LLP, presented data showing that CFOs were a lot less interested in pandemic preparedness than were continuity managers. That would change fast if huge pension funds started asking hard questions. Imagine how companies might respond, for example, if they got a letter from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) indicating that CalPERS was planning to screen its investments for pandemic preparedness.Corporate pandemic communication aimed at neighbors or the general public still seems to be extremely rare. In fact, business leaders have been shockingly silent in the general-interest media about pandemic risk. Thanks to Google News, I am able to read a lot of media stories (local as well as national and international) about pandemic risk. The main sources are usually health officials, politicians, or academics, not companies. The companies that manufacture antivirals are an obvious exception, and I’ve seen other exceptions—articles on the preparedness efforts of the grocery, telecommunications, and banking industries, among others. But finding examples of corporate CEOs speaking out on pandemic preparedness is hard.In late 2006, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University sponsored a 3-day conference on pandemic news coverage. I asked a lot of participants what they were writing about business preparedness. “Not much,” reporter after reporter told me. “It’s hard to find a company willing to say anything on the record about its pandemic planning.”Are you talking to employees yet?The single most important audience for corporate pandemic precaution advocacy is, of course, employees. Are companies actually talking to their employees about pandemic preparedness?I don’t mean vague assurances that employees should “rest assured that your company is doing everything possible to be fully prepared in the unlikely event of a bird flu pandemic.” I’ve seen some of those. I mean detailed, vivid communications that aim at three key goals:Briefing employees on company preparedness effortsInvolving employees in those effortsPersuading employees to launch their own preparedness efforts at home and in the communityI haven’t seen many corporate efforts to achieve these three goals.Judging from my clients, getting top management’s okay to talk frankly with employees about pandemics is an uphill battle. I hear two basic reasons for not doing so:”We’re not ready yet”—As if it made sense to wait till your corporate pandemic planning were nearly done before asking employees to get involved, and before urging them to do some planning of their own.”We don’t want to unduly frighten people”—As if the looming possibility of a severe pandemic weren’t “duly” frightening . . . and as if it were more important to keep employees unconcerned than to get them prepared.There’s a better rationale for not communicating right now: “Employees aren’t interested in pandemics. Until they are, there’s not much point in trying to talk to them.” This is, of course, the exact opposite of the we-don’t-want-to-frighten-them rationale; it suggests waiting for a teachable moment when frightening your employees will be more feasible. If your company already has its pandemic employee precaution advocacy messaging done and you’re just waiting till employees are in a mood to listen, okay. Don’t wait too long.But I’d bet my mortgage that’s not what’s happening. If anything, companies will be even less willing to talk candidly and frighteningly about pandemics when their employees are already buzzing with pandemic anxiety.Go ahead, get startedSo what are companies really waiting for? I’m afraid they’re waiting for a pandemic. The votes at CIDRAP’s Orlando conference notwithstanding, it seems to me that most companies have not yet made communication a priority in their pandemic preparedness work. In particular, they have not yet done much employee pandemic precaution advocacy.It’s time to get started.An internationally renowned expert in risk communication and crisis communication, Peter Sandman speaks and consults widely on communication aspects of pandemic preparedness. Dr. Sandman, Deputy Editor, contributes an original column to CIDRAP Source Weekly Briefing every other week. Most of his risk communication writing is available without charge at the Peter Sandman Risk Communication Web Site, which includes an index of pandemic-related writing on the site.last_img read more

Zoo Miami Welcomes “Highly Endangered” Clouded Leopard Kittens

first_imgOn Feb. 26, the kittens were separated from their mother for their initial neonatal exam, from which the zoo determined the litter consisted of one female and one male kitten.“Since that time, the kittens have continued to develop well while remaining in seclusion with their mother,” according to Magill. The kittens were again separated for their initial vaccines and to observe their development.“Both offspring appear to be thriving and the mother continues to be attentive and nursing them on a regular basis,” says Magill.Zoo Miami is closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic and is taking extra precautions to protect their animals.In addition to their regular care, the zoo is “stepping into disinfecting footbaths prior to entering any feline area” and will be wearing “masks and gloves while working in those areas.” Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill is ecstatic about the recent birth of two adorable clouded leopard kittens. He talked exclusively to the South Florida Morning Show about the adorable, “highly endangered” new additions to his zoo family.Magill says the kittens were born to mother Serai and father Rajasi on Feb. 11 — the second successful litter for both parents.Along with their announcement, the zoo shared several heartwarming photos of the fuzzy animals, showing off their large eyes and tiny tongues.Following their birth, the two kittens were placed in a den to be secluded with their mother as to “avoid any external stress and to allow proper bonding.”Zoo Miami is excited to announce the successful births of highly endangered clouded leopards. The two kittens were born on February 11th and have been secluded in a den with their mother since then to avoid any external stress and allow proper bonding. :@RonMagill pic.twitter.com/R4yhDe6dlc— Zoo Miami (@zoomiami) April 7, 2020last_img read more

Liam, 23, is England Golf’s Young Ambassador of the Year

first_imgA 23-year-old Yorkshire golfer who is helping to change the image of the game, was named last night as England Golf’s Young Ambassador of the Year, awarded in association with the Golf Foundation.Liam Ridgill is the 2018 club captain at Drax Golf Club, near Selby, and his contribution to his club and to modernising the image of the sport was honoured at the England Golf Awards, sponsored by Bridgestone.Guests at the glittering, black tie event at the Royal Lancaster London applauded Ridgill, who uses his professional skills in marketing and IT to drive his club forward.“It’s fantastic to be recognised,” said Ridgill. “But I only do what I do for the love of the club and the members and the guys I play golf with. It’s as much an award for them as for me.”The judges recognised his enthusiasm, professionalism and innovative approach to attract people to the game and commented on his captaincy: “This is a great achievement that shatters the preconceived idea of golf only being for middle aged gents.”Ridgill, the youngest-ever captain at Drax and one of the youngest in the country,  is delighted to be changing perceptions around golf, saying: “There’s this historical stigma around golf that it’s for people who are retired but it’s a good sport for everyone to be involved in.”Ridgill first started playing golf at eight and was introduced to the sport by his grandad, who is a founder member of Drax – and who has steadfastly refused to be captain, even declining an invitation to be his grandson’s vice!After a break to try other sports he returned to golf aged 14 and, before long, was junior captain. Next, he became involved with the club committee when he was 19, taking responsibility for promoting Drax via social media and its website.Successful promotions have included an offer to new members of 15 months’ membership for the price of 12 if they joined within a three-month period. This attracted 16 new members this winter.One of Ridgill’s aims as captain is to build up the junior section and to retain players in their late teens and early 20s. Initiatives at the club to support this include student and intermediate memberships, while each adult member is given two associate junior memberships for children or grandchildren.And what’s special about Drax Golf Club? “It’s the members,” said Ridgill. “We’re a tight-knit club and you get to know everyone. We’ve got a great set of members and we all pull together. It’s a strong community.”The runners-up for Young Ambassador of the Year were Megan Field of Hatchford Brook Golf Centre, Warwickshire, Jessica Pinnell of Hatchford Brook Golf Centre, Warwickshire and Georgina Wrixon of Ashley Wood Golf Club, Dorset.Caption: Liam Ridgill (right) was presented with his award by Brendon Pyle, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, (centre) watched by event host Dan Walker. 22 Feb 2018 Liam, 23, is England Golf’s Young Ambassador of the Year Tags: Award, Liam Ridgill, Young Ambassador of the Yearlast_img read more

Study Many Houstonians Still Lack Easy Access To Parks

first_imgDespite Houston’s acres of parks, only about 58% of Houstonians can easily get to one on foot, according to the Trust for Public Land’s annual ParkScore.The report rates cities on the percentage of residents who live within a 10-minute walk from a park.For comparison, in Minneapolis 96% of residents can walk to a park in 10 minutes.The Trust for Public Land’s Charlie McCabe says though Houston has about 40,000 acres of parks, some neighborhoods still lack public green space.“It’s mostly in southwest Houston,” said McCabe. “And then further out east and north you have also some gaps as well.”And even in a car-centered city like Houston, McCabe said people are more likely to use local parks if they don’t have to drive to get there.“We find that the barriers to visiting a park and getting moderate to vigorous exercise decrease if you don’t have to get in a car, you don’t have to get on a bus, you don’t have to catch a ride with a friend or family members,” said McCabe. “You can actually put the kids in a stroller, put them on bikes and roll over to parks.”Houston ranks low on the ParkScore index, coming in at #85. Last year the city ranked at #77, but McCabe praised Houston’s efforts to create more parks, like the extensive Bayou Greenways project. He said there’s strong private support for park projects, but it will take more public money to increase access.“I think the big thing is to continue to get everyone more engaged in advocating for the park system,” McCabe said. Listen To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: 00:00 /00:46 center_img – / 7 X Sharelast_img read more