CDC wants the public to comment on H1N1 vaccination

candle-eggsThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would like to know what the public feels about the impending H1N1 influenza vaccination program this fall. The agency plans to conduct ten meetings in different parts of the United States to learn if the public would like a massive vaccination campaign, or a reduced effort.

The meetings will take place throughout August in Colorado, Nebraska, Alabama, California, Indiana, Texas, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Washington, and New York. You must make an online reservation to attend one of these meetings.

Do you think this is a good idea? Does the CDC care what the public thinks about what the size of the vaccine campaign should be, or is this a tactic to calm down a confused and concerned public? I’m interested in learning what the readers of virology blog think about these ‘Public Engagement Meetings’. Add a comment below, or send it to

31 thoughts on “CDC wants the public to comment on H1N1 vaccination”

  1. I have no idea which of these options makes sense: “simply make vaccines available to those seeking immunization, to promote vaccination to those most at risk or to implement a widespread immunization program.” I suspect some large percentage of “the public” is in the same boat. Shouldn't the CDC be recommending a course of action based on existing evidence instead of taking a poll?

    This really does seem like pandering.

  2. The cynical side of me says this is an ill concieved waste of time and money, perhaps a pre-emptive method of shifting blame should things go awry, or even pandering as suggested by RW. The optimistic (naive?) side of me thinks it would be nice if CDC could use these sessions to engage the public in an informed discussion of the pandemic and use whatever feedback they get as part of the information they use to make recommendations. Wouldn't it be nice if the average person on the street actually knew enough about situations such as this to make an informed decision or even to inform policy? (Isn't that what TWiV and the Virology Blog is about?!) Maybe it's worth a try.

  3. janetandrewsphd

    I suspect the CDC already has a plan, and this is an effort to appear that the general public has a say in what is happening. Honestly, but the time the vaccine is available, I think most people will already have been exposed to the virus. Perhaps it will be a moot point.

  4. There's a lot of things the public could give input on, but whether the vaccination campaign should be massive or reduced, is NOT one of them.

  5. The CDC is asking that same public that believe that vaccination causes autism. This seems like a bad idea.

  6. Is it the best use of resources? Probably not. Is the CDC already putting their plan in place? Certainly. But if it gets into local papers and it gives people an inkling of a clue as to where to find legitimate answers to their questions, then why not give it a try, like Rich said. Seems like part of the problem in the spring/early summer was that people didn't really know what or who to trust when it came to answering their questions. Even reminding a select audience that the CDC exists, and exists for a reason, seems worth the effort.

  7. I for one am very happy they are asking the public! We pay their salaries, yes? Besides, it gets them out from behind the computer and into the real world. I hope people show up (that would say something too, wouldn't it?)

  8. Everett197281

    First of all, it seems odd that Wisconsin with either the highest or second highest H1N1 cases in the country is not on that list.

    Given that our fellow americans not only cannot name a scientist, but seem to have gone a little X-files in their understanding of vaccines, it does seem sound for the CDC to approach this issue with a tempered hand. In my experience in health care, a lot of people generally are uninformed about such things but are not opposed to being informed, and are generally receptive to gaining such information. Forcing things on uninformed people (which is a little cruel in the first place) makes them suspicious are not likely to receive the vaccine. So, it seems a wise move on the part of the CDC to handle this like a doctor would talk to a patient about a diagnosis; here is what it is, here is how we can treat it, here is what might happen.

    Regrettably, a massive government campaign of vaccination would be met with resistance from certain camps; from people who think flu is not dangerous, those who think it won't happen to them, those who assume the person to the left and the person to the right are going to get it–apparently the effects on the community at large are not important. And, I have no doubt all of the conspiracy theorists (led by their eloquent and well educated former playboy-model-of a spokesperson who was sent by way of UFO) are still propagandizing the GBS associated with the 1976 vaccine and all it would take is 1 single case hoisted upon a populace by a faceless massive government program to fulfill all of their paranoid delusions–and that would set us even further back.

    As Dr. Mark Crislip says-if we called it 'rotting genitalia virus', alot more people would get the vaccine.

    Besides, everyone knows that John Barry engineered the virus to sell more copies of his 'Great Influenza' book. Duh!

  9. No vaccination here. I have already had the swine flu, was not tested, but I was hospitalized with viral pneumonia. No antibiotic touched it . None for my kids or grandkids either, until it is fully tested for safety.

  10. I was puzzled by this too. Perhaps it is to help build consensus for a broad vaccination campaign, which seems like a good idea.

    I recall that the swine flu vaccination campaign many years ago was pretty much of a crash and burn scenario. Perhaps they are trying to obtain “informed consent” from the public?

    It is puzzling.

  11. I think that this may increase public panic about the vaccine, I think that lots of people are gonna think that the vaccine is not safe enough, and that CDC is not sure about its complete safety, and it needs public agreement of some sort that in case things went wrong

  12. nobody usually cares about what the public thinks, so this appears sospicious. I have small children and a pregnant wife and I really wonder what they should do with this vaccination……

  13. I am no virologist, but isn't it a bit risky and inept to start mass vaccinations with vaccines that have barely been tested, for a virus that has been very mild, and from what I understand has the potential to mutate relatively fast, thus rendering the vaccines useless?

    Couldn't this fear mongering just be a way for the pharmaceutical industry to make a huge profit in a collapsing economy, and for the WHO and CDC to pose as heroes, to seem like they are relevant to our lives? GlaxoSmithKline, Baxter, Roche and Sanofi-Aventis stocks are barely in the green as it is, imagine if there was no virus to tout vaccines and antivirals for.

    Personally I have had bad experiences with vaccines, and am going to wait for the results after the guinea pigs take their shots, see what happens, before I make a decision.

    What about you guys? I bet you are first in line, as the all-knowing infallible virologists you portray yourselves to be? Good luck, tell us conspiracy theorist alarmists how it went.


  14. Pharmaceutical companies make more money than we could possibly dream, so they hardly need this to keep them afloat. Vaccines as it is are a low yield profit return (compared with erectile dysfunction, depression, and high cholesterol–all things which still matter in a bad economy by the way) and so even if they were in danger of bankrupcy, vaccines would not be the way to return to profitiability.

    As for the relevance of the CDC -its hard to know where to start with that statement. Vaccines aside, the CDC also monitors environmental health, occupational safety, informs the public on better health habits, monitors chronic disease–basically everything having to do with public health in the United States. Whether you think so or not, they are relevant to your life.

    Bad experiences with vaccines? Because you never received any? So I assume you suffer from sub-acute sclerosing panencephalitis, tetanus, haemophilus pneumonia/meningitis, viral meningitis, pneumococcal meningitis, smallpox, polio, whooping cough, diptheria, mumps, measles, ruebella, hepatitis-(and this is assuming you were not in the US armed forces, that adds quite a few more)
    -Your right, that would be quite a bad experience.

    Its ironic really. Part of the reason people are not appreciative of vaccines is because they never had to see any of the diseases that they prevent-prevented of course, because we have vaccines.

    The bottom line is that vaccines and flushing toilets are the reasons we get to life long enough to die of old age. If you are still having doubts, I refer you to Dr. Crislip's exposition on influenza vaccines (

    As for the final statement, (ad hominem attack notwithstanding) I have listed to TWiV for quite a while now, almost since the beginning, and at no point have any of the authors ever made a claim of infallibility (quite the contrary actually). Both TWiV and this blog are forums that aim to educate people like you and me, people that are not virologists, so that we have some understanding for when things like H1N1 or SARS are in the news. Instead of casting aspersions, I suggest you read on. A little skepticism is healthy after all (although too much can get you killed).

    In case your wondering why the CDC has to travel the country at taxpayer expense and educate the public…your the reason.

  15. You're overestimating their profits. GlaxoSmithKline only had a £5.6b profit a couple years ago. Now they are getting hundreds of billions in tax free revenue from government contracts. These big corps are also known to overcharge, especially in no bid contracts, just look at Halliburton.

    And yes, even big pharma is hemorrhaging in this economy. For example, Novarits is down 12% this first half, but they said they will be up to record profits by the end of the year, where will all this projected extra revenue come from in a failing economy? Has to be government contracts.

    Again, you are making sweeping assumptions. I never said ALL vaccines are bad, just those that are untested or barely tested, and those that contain potentially harmful ingredients. I have had vaccines from which I have received a neurological disorder aswell as chronic rashes. And I have had measles, it's not that bad.

    Vaccines and flushing toilets are not the reason to a prolonged lifespan. This is a delusion, it barely makes any logical sense to begin with.

    You seem very naive, how old are you?

  16. CDC is right. Immunization by vaccine for H1N1 influenza is necessary. As we have not initiated the program uptil, the disease transmission is increasingly prevalent in the world. As the disease is probably going to be pandamic, we can decrease or even stop the disease transmission by improving herd immune status by introducing the vaccine in susceptible individual.

  17. Do you know why a vaccine for the HIV virus will never work? Because it mutates very fast. RNA viruses like the influenza also mutate relatively fast, and this H1N1 seems to be doing the same thing. Will the vaccine even work is the question.

  18. Yea, I know it, and you are very right. The virus has its RNA genome devided into 8 fragments. This is the result of genetic reassortment that genitic “drift” and “shift” occur in it. But if the vaccine is made for the present influenza virus, then there is no problem in temporary use of it to immunize peoples to present threat only. Also, against the structural proteins that are not uptil studied in the virus, our immune system will recognize and respond accordingly upon encounter with the H1N1 strain in support with the previously induced immune system by vaccination. This will be good for the time being to combat the disease transmission. However, this is not the permanent vaccine. We can find some thing for it if we study the host side for the infection progress, e.g. neuraminidase mediated cleaving of the bond between heamagglutin spike (H) and the receptor on respiratory epithelial cell.

  19. This, along with the other flu vaccines should be optional. There is a large amount of the population that will refuse to take this vaccine.

  20. I will be grateful if you answer the following questions:
    i) Why h1n1 is considered an emergency if it killed approx. 2200 worldwide while seasonal flu kills approx half a million?. Being pandemic is only a measure of its geographical extension not its severity.
    ii) How can a vaccine be safe if it has been developed in less than a year? What about side effects which may take years to appear?
    iii) If reassortment or genetic drift occurred between h1n1 and another flu say h5n1 will these vaccines be effective?
    iv) Is there an explanation why this disease affects the ages 25-45 and not the standard young or old ages??

  21. Back in Los Angeles, my wife's 15 year old sister came down with a really bad case of the flu and spread it to my 1 year old daughter. It started out with a really high fever for one night and then tapered down… they were coughing constantly. It took over a week for my daughter to get over it and a week later Swine Flu hit the news. The flu my daughter had was strange, I remember her accidentally wiping her snot on my face and I knew that I was going to be getting sick in a few days. The strange thing is that I nor anybody else got sick in the family even though we were saturated in their germs… so it was nothing like the regular flu. My guess is that Swine Flu has been going around in the United States for awhile and it recently spread into Mexico and mutated into something a little worse. I come to this conclusion because the rest of my family must have already had immunity to it since we did not get sick like we would with the standard flu. This would explain why the older population aren't being affected by it like the younger generations are.

    As for the new vaccinations… I think it's nonsense to be rushing them out. My father died from ALS which is possibly linked to squalene in the Gulf War vaccinations he was required to take. From what I understand, the new flu vaccines have a million times as much squalene as the other vaccinations. It is completely insane to use untested vaccinations on the population over such a mild disease. The Swine Flu seems to be just a bad case of the standard flu and does not warrant this kind of risk.

  22. H1N1 = Conspiracy?

    H1N1 notepad

    October 2009
    On October 1 2009, a former federal health minister dismisses as “crackpots and conspiracy theorists” those who would actively discourage Australians from having their swine flu vaccine'. October 2nd, the San Fransisco Chronicle publishes that 'Everybody seems to be saying TRUST THE GOVERNMENT but it's hard to trust the H1N1 vaccination campaign' and on October 4rd, the Washington Post wonders 'When the swine flu vaccine finally arrives this week, will Americans line up to get it?' and CBS News writes about health care workers protesting the flu vaccine mandate. October 6th Foodconsumer publishes 'Do NOT Let Your Child Get Flu Vaccine — 9 Reasons Why' and writes that 'modern medicine has no explanation for autism, despite its continued rise in prevalence. Yet autism is not reported among Amish children who go unvaccinated'. October 7th Healthnews writes that 72 percent are concerned about potential vaccine side effects and the Examiner writes that' theorists believe that government may force people to take the vaccine'. October 8th Times&Transscript publishes that 'a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal would be included as one of the substances in the H1N1 vaccine', Medill Reports writes that Dr. Mayer Eisenstein is advising his patients to say no and is convinced that vaccines cause autism and the Los Angeles Times Blog publishes that media commentators Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh have apparently fallen prey to the loony websites of the anti-vaccine folks and that Beck would do “the exact opposite” of what the government recommended and attend a swine flu party. October 9th, The Christian Science Monitor publishes that 'the vaccine is opposed, moreover, by naturopaths and even a well-known epidemiologist' and that Glenn Beck from Fox News has devoted hours to ask 'why the World Health Organization, “Big Pharma,” and the government are hyping a pandemic'?

    Read the full article with all media references @

    notepad publishing (a non-profit news agency based in Switzerland)

  23. I got the nasal H1N1 vaccine yesterday, trust me, it's nothing like the regulary flu. I got very sick during the month of May this year and originally thought that maybe it was H1N1. Well, after getting the vaccine last night, I realized it was NOT the H1N1 that I was sick with in May, rather just a very bad cold. Last night after I got the vaccine, I was blocked out for about 2 seconds. As I was driving home, my eye sight got blurry and I became sick. I made it home safely and then my stomach started hurting or cramping, then I had no strength and was very dizzy. This is what the swine flu feels like, I had stay in bed, but recoverd in about 3 hours. This morning I was back to normal, no symptoms or side effects of the vaccine.

  24. Is this the start of martial law in America? President Obama has declared a national emergency over the swine flu pandemic, but the question is why? So far, the amount of people that get sick and die from the regular flu every year is far greater than those that have been infected with the swine flu. Also, the CDC has reported that the swine flu infections have already peaked, but for some reason we are in a state of emergency? Declaring a national emergency immediately gives federal authorities dangerous new powers that can now be enforced at gunpoint, including: • The power to force mandatory swine flu vaccinations on the entire population. • The power to arrest, quarantine or “involuntarily transport” anyone who refuses a swine flu vaccination. • The power to quarantine an entire city and halt all travel in or out of that city. • The power to enter any home or office without a search warrant and order the destruction of any belongings or structures deemed to be a threat to public health. • The effective nullification of the Bill of Rights. Your right to due process, to being safe from government search and seizure, and to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination are all null and void under a Presidential declaration of a national emergency. So this is what it has come too…in an attempt to control it's people the government makes up a pandemic in order to bring about that control. People are smart enough not to take the vaccine for this disease, and even right now the President's daughters have not taken the vaccine that he and his administration apparently supports.… Obama Declares Swine Flu a National Emergency ~Signature~ THIS IS STILL A FREE COUNTRY! SO Politicians Stay OUT OF MY: -Pocket Book -Health Care -Body -Free Speech -Radio Talk Shows -Gun Cabinet -Food Availability -Internet -Religion -Schools -Text Books -News Media -Children's Minds

  25. Emergency law simply allows states to receive more federal assistance without red tape. The H1N1 influenza infections have certainly not peaked, and Obama's daughters have received their immunizations today. I welcome all views here but false information and mistruths are not.

  26. Thank you for providing this space to allow us more information about the vaccination. My son and daughters will be first in line when the vaccine becomes available to us. As for 'flag', or whomever it is that is the conspiracy nut above. You know, it's such a shame that people like you get to infect the world with something much worse than a killer virus — your paranoid, ignorant, misinformation is more of a threat to mankind than anything produced by the government including the hydrogen bomb.

  27. Ok. I dont trust the government when they only convince us to get the flu shots to make money! Now. how many people know, that there is… Dog liver, Monkey liver, sheeps washed red blood cells, rabbit brain, aborted fetus cells, Duck egg, chicken egg, Monkey liver cells, AND a lot more crap, INSIDE the h1n1 flu shots?!?! Now after you people have read this, tell me how many of you accually WANT to get the h1n1 flu shot?! I know im not!!!!

  28. This information is incorrect. The vast majority of the influenza
    vaccine is produced in chicken eggs. The virus is purified and
    disrupted; the vaccine has trace amounts of egg proteins, detergent,
    and formaldehyde, but none of the other ingredients which you list.
    The vaccine has been produced in this way for over 40 years and has an
    excellent safety profile.

  29. This information is incorrect. The vast majority of the influenza
    vaccine is produced in chicken eggs. The virus is purified and
    disrupted; the vaccine has trace amounts of egg proteins, detergent,
    and formaldehyde, but none of the other ingredients which you list.
    The vaccine has been produced in this way for over 40 years and has an
    excellent safety profile.

  30. Pingback: TWiV 44: No hysteria

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