We are hearing more and more about the significant impact that H1N1 influenza could have on our population as schools across the nation begin new terms in the next few days and weeks. We know that this particular strain can affect even the healthiest young people—in fact, this group is affected more frequently than the elderly that we more commonly think about for seasonal influenza. The number of "candidates" for immunization this fall will exceed 100 million. We know through APhA immunization programs that about 80,000 pharmacists have been trained to administer immunizations. We also know that four manufacturers are gearing up to produce sufficient supplies of H1N1 vaccine. CDC and FDA do not yet know whether one or two H1N1 administrations will be required, but in any case, the stress for access will be significant.
Our team is meeting with CDC to determine the best ways to help meet the pandemic issues we will face with respect to novel H1N1 influenza. Meanwhile, if you are an immunizing pharmacist, please consider how you can help. If you are not yet trained, consider getting trained through your schools, state associations, or other certificate programs. Let's get ready to show the world how pharmacists can make a difference!