Rapid roll out of H1N1 influenza vaccine helped Massachusetts immunize 6.4 million residents.
Facing the threat of a "swine flu" or H1N1 pandemic in the summer of 2009, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) acted quickly to ensure that those at the greatest risk would be vaccinated in a timely manner. JSI was contracted to assist in the development and implementation of an electronic system to register, prioritize, and monitor thousands of hospitals, community health centers, doctors' offices, and other prospective vaccination sites throughout Massachusetts before the first shipments of vaccine arrived in October.
How change happened
JSI worked closely with the MDPH to build and test an online registration process to identify vaccination sites and the number of high-risk patients at each site. With the web-based system in place, JSI’s team registered 4,481 sites, including local health departments, pediatricians, ob-gyn offices, pharmacies, schools, and correctional facilities.
Meeting the state’s vaccine needs
Within weeks of start-up, JSI hired and trained eight people to work with MDPH personnel on the vaccination program. The staff answered health provider questions about registration, allocation of the vaccine, and reporting of vaccine use. The staff tracked vaccine shipments and depletion of vaccine stocks and looked for gaps in availability, and redistributed vaccine to meet the changing needs of sites.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the federal agency in charge of H1N1 distribution, allocated a total of 3.3 million doses to Massachusetts. This was enough to vaccinate more than half of the state's 6.4 million people over the course of the autumn and winter months. In the final analysis, Massachusetts was ranked second in the nation for successful H1N1 vaccination coverage of the state population.