Letter Re: The CDC’s Suggestions on Preparing for Future Flu Pandemics

Mr Rawles:
My sister-in-law works for one of the large food bakeries. They make a well-known cracker that is purchased by a large portion of the US population every day. She manages health and safety for a number of their bakeries and recently attended a conference on pandemics hosted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC is holding these conferences for companies producing staple foodstuffs as they say it isn’t “if” we will see a flu pandemic but “when”.
The conference was a real eye-opener for my sister-in-law. The CDC says that we will either have a flu pandemic or avian flu pandemic within the next 10 years (likely earlier rather than later). The following recommendations for key personnel of the bakery was provided by the CDC as they believe we will see absenteeism over 50% during a pandemic. They want food manufacturers to be able to continue production during a pandemic.
Here are the top three:
1. Have a supply of Tamiflu on hand. Roche offers companies a program that will store Tamiflu for them in advance for a fee. Roche will rotate the stock on a regular basis to guarantee freshness and ship it immediately to key personnel in the event of a pandemic. Individuals should get their physician to write a prescription and keep some on hand. Tamiflu will be in short supply during a pandemic.
2. Get a flu shot every year. The CDC is making a concerted effort to get flu shots offered to everyone, not just targeted groups anymore.
3. Get a pneumonia vaccination. Pneumonia is the actual cause of death in many flu cases. The CDC is now recommending that key personnel get this vaccine. Many flu shot clinics also offer the pneumococcal vaccine as well. You will have to be persistent in requesting it as they are hesitant to give it to the general population. The CDC is trying to limit it in order to keep it available for targeted groups.
It will be very difficult to limit contact to both other people and livestock in the event of a pandemic. By following these three recommendations, you should be able to reduce your chances of dying during a pandemic. – Rangemaster