HHS and DHS Announce Guidance on Pandemic Vaccination Allocation

August 12, 2008

The US Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Homeland Security (DHS) have released guidance on allocating and targeting pandemic influenza vaccine.

The US Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Homeland Security (DHS) have released guidance on allocating and targeting pandemic influenza vaccine. The guidance provides a planning framework to help state, tribal, local, and community leaders ensure that vaccine allocation and use will reduce the impact of a pandemic on public health and minimize disruption to society and the economy.

As part of developing the guidance, HHS held daylong public engagement and stakeholder meetings throughout the country and received more than 200 written public comments on the goals and objectives of pandemic vaccination. In all the meetings, stakeholders and the public identified the same four vaccination program objectives as the most important:

  • protect persons critical to the pandemic response and who provide care for persons with pandemic illness,

  • protect persons who provide essential community services,

  • protect persons who are at high risk of infection because of their occupation, and

  • protect children.

The ultimate goal of the pandemic vaccination program is to vaccinate every person in the US who wants to be vaccinated. Because pandemic vaccines cannot be made fast enough for everyone to be vaccinated at once, federal, state, local, and tribal governments, communities, and the private sector can use the guidance to decide who should be vaccinated during this early stage to best protect people and communities.

The guidance’s vaccination structure defines four broad target groups: people who 1) maintain homeland and national security, 2) provide healthcare and community support services, 3) maintain critical infrastructure, and 4) are in the general population.

A PDF of the guidance is available on HHS’ web site.