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DHS news release

Sept. 20, 2005


Contact: Bonnie Widerburg (503) 731-4180

Technical contact: Paul Lewis (503) 731-4024


Federal health officials seek Oregon input into pandemic flu plan



The Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) is seeking 100 Oregonians to comment on who should initially receive limited quantities of vaccine if a worldwide flu outbreak were to occur.


Oregon is one of four states where federal officials are seeking public comment. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials will receive comment on Oct. 1 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Holiday Inn Portland, 1441 N.E. Second Ave., Portland.


Federal public health officials are in the process of preparing a plan for responding to the possibility of a worldwide flu outbreak. Such outbreaks have occurred three times in the last 100 years.


During the session, the 100 Oregonians will listen, discuss and comment on who should receive vaccinations, which would very likely be in limited supply at the beginning of a widespread outbreak.


"This is an opportunity for Oregonians to be directly involved in shaping public health policy and preparedness planning," said Mel Kohn, M.D., state epidemiologist in DHS. "We are lucky to be involved because only four states were chosen to provide this kind of input."


Anyone who is interested in participating should call DHS at (971) 673-0980 to ask for a registration form.


CDC is seeking general public input from a cross-section of 400 citizens from Georgia, Massachusetts, Nebraska and Oregon. The recommendations from this project will include participation from both the general public in these four states and a broad spectrum of organizations that have expertise on influenza, ethics and public engagement.