FLU NEWS SCAN: Canada's flu vaccine backup, pandemic TV coverage

Mar 25, 2011

Canada finalizes backup plan for pandemic, seasonal flu vaccine
Canada's government has forged agreements with two vaccine companies to provide it with backup supplies of pandemic and seasonal flu vaccine, the Ottawa Citizen reported today. The agreements are designed to supplement flu vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline, which for the past several years has been Canada's sole flu vaccine supplier. Canada's contract with Glaxo was designed to provide the company with a reliable, domestic-based source of flu vaccine, but problems the company and others had producing the 2009 H1N1 vaccine delayed its rollout in Canada and led to shortages, according to previous reports. The government's 3-year contract with Sanofi Pasteur is for a backup supply of pandemic vaccine for vulnerable groups, and its contract with Novartis is for extra seasonal flu vaccine when needed.
Mar 25 Ottawa Citizen story

Sydney-area TV coverage of pandemic H1N1 deemed solid
Public health professionals gave TV reporters in Sydney, Australia, generally good marks on their coverage of the 2009-10 H1N1 influenza pandemic, saying reports were generally non-alarmist but conveyed the potential seriousness of the outbreak. The researchers studied every H1N1-related story on five local stations from Apr 25 through Oct 9, 2009, prior to release of the vaccine, identifying 353 news items and 3,086 statements for analysis. They found that 63% of statements related to seriousness of the outbreak (43% of which involved infection and death rates), 24% involved reassurance from the government (with 30% stating that a vaccine was being developed), and 13% provided advice for viewers (28% on personal hygiene, 28% on social distancing, and 21% on seeing a doctor). The researchers determined that less than 4% of advice given included conflicting or unclear messages. In giving the high grade overall to the TV coverage, they did cite some caveats, such as, "Daily infection rate tallies and commentary on changes in the pandemic alert level were seldom contextualised to assist viewers in understanding personal relevance."
Mar 24 BMC Public Health report

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