Surviving Hawaii's Next Pandemic Influenza

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The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) is launching “Vaccine: Surviving Hawai‘i’s Next Pandemic,” a public initiative project to involve the public in discussions of planning for a potential influenza pandemic, including how to prioritize the distribution of limited supplies of vaccine in the event of a pandemic.

The demonstration project is funded by a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and invites the public to participate in any or all of three components: live, viewer call-in televised panel discussions, an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) in which a simulated pandemic strikes a future Hawai‘i, and community meetings in May.

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“The key to disaster response is preparedness,” said Lt. Governor James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr. “With a focus on public engagement as part of the decision-making process, this project reinforces our efforts to develop a collaborative solution.”

“Open communication with the public is an essential part of government transparency,” said Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of health. “This project is designed to offer a range of opportunities for public dialogue and will be evaluated for use as a model for other states to follow.”

“What are the community’s values and opinions regarding vaccine prioritization? What are the unique concerns facing Hawai‘i’s people? These are key questions,” said Dr. Sarah Park, chief, Disease Outbreak Control Division and principal investigator for the project. “We really want to

hear from people on important community issues that should be considered by the leaders who will have to make the difficult choices in the event of a pandemic.”

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