Wheres the **** hotel? What are they gonna talk about? Who is gonna be there? I rolled around so much, I wore a hole in the sheets..sleep was only a dream away. Finally my woman couldn't take it anymore and got up... leaving more room to roll around.
We knew we would be leaving early and already it was time for me to get up. She had the directions written down and away we went to get stuck in D.C. traffic. The first 2 hrs went smoothly, then we met the big slowdown. I arrved at 8:40am, 10 mins late, gave her a kiss and ran for the front door.
Inside I went past 3 bellhops and other hotel staff, the place was bustling wth activity as I hurried past. Down the steps to the ballroom there was a table for people to get their programs, name tags and get signed in. Another area with coffee and other drinks was further down. Just as I walked in Anthony Fauci was walkin by and we shook hand and exchanged greetings. I haven't been there for 1 minute and already I was shaking hands with one of the very smartest people in the vaccine world..not bad for a long haired carpenter.
I signed in, grabbed a well needed coffee and bam, ran right into Dem from the Wikie, another smart dude. We talked about the rapid loss of pregnant woman, and I told him I remembered that at the last meeting we were at, how he told me how we have to work with who we got and try to do what we can. He was right. None of us or them have ever lived through real pandemic as this and we knew we were in uncharted waters.
Sharon finds me a moment later and we start chattin it up as the main crowd started filing in.
she tells me where my seat is and we go into he big room. Tables are set in the middle in a u shape with a podium and big screen at one end. Other chairs and tables are on the outside of them in a second ring and more at the other end of the room. 50 people sat at the ring with micrphones. Almost every other chair was filled, I sat behind Sharon and beside a man from the EPA. No microphone for me..probably a good thing.
The big hall slowly filled with the stars of the vaccine and pandemic world stage and I saw many from the last meeting I went to 2 years ago. I didn't see any falling asleep at this one.
John O Brennan, Assistsant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism got the ball rolling. A big man, you could tel he wasn't for no stuff and spoke of the seriuosness of the pandemic and being ready for the fall and any unknowns.
Next was Secretary Katheen Sebelius from HHS at the podium. She is she spoke of the many scientists and making sure the pubic gets realtime info and that all actions are directed by the best science we have. The healthcare system may be overwhelmed and that vaccines are our best option and all need the seasonal vaccine also. There may be some attempts to tie vaccine to normal deaths that occur naturally.
She is right on this also as we already know that there will be plenty of natural and abnormal deaths going on all throughout this pandemic, that will add to the total number of deaths. Some will just not be able to be saved, due to severety of injuries or already overcrowded conditions. I don't envy the drs that will have hard work and decisions cut out for them. Sebelous also said she wants the public will be provided with complete information and the last exercise led them to revamp quarintine procedure at the CDC.
The next speaker was Anne Schuchat MD,Assistant Surgeon General, US Publc Health Service Director,National Center for Immunization and respiratory Diseases.
She gave us the current update which is also no different than you already know.
There is no mutation from the south as of yet.
The vaccine is a good match.
Young people are affected worse than others.
The vaccine is voluntary.
They are sill evaluating the vaccine.
To which I add is normal also and the vaccine and later effects and the whole vaccination program will be evaluated for years to come.
The virus jumped in spring, stayed steady all summer and is now having an uptick, mainly in the southeast due to school openings.
..Here I will add I don't think keeping schools open is a good idea, at least until all the kids can be vaccinated and get an ideas as to how this pandemic is gonna play out. I am a parent of a diasabled child and am in no hurry to send him straight into the firestorm. .and don't think I will until he has been vaccinated. They will have a hard time convincing me all is good with this thing, now that his kind are at the top of the list for vaccination.
If kids can be at home for 3 month and didn't starve to death or become competely useless, I think the parents can stand them a few more months. If they are afraid the econmy will be worse off than it is now, because a parent may be at home more often to take care of the child, Imagine how bad it will get when they are in the street bitchin that their kid is dead and it's the gov't fault for keeping the schools open.
...Jus saying, other countries are delaying the start of school until that happens, and this country has the technology to teach them at home.
As pointed out before the list of people prioritized are:
Those that live with infants 6 month or younger
6m to 24 yrs
25 to 64 with medical conditions
Now I see that chldren with Neurological conditions should be first in line. This includes my son,which may mean my family of 4 should probably be included or what the hell give it to him for. If any of the others got sick before he had both shots, if 2 are still required, then he would get sick anyway, defeating the purpose and wasting the shot. I did not hear of any talk of this at the exercise.
Next was Bill Hall who told us from here on out we were off the record so everyone was free to speak. He ntroduced Forrest Sawyer as the moderator again as he was at the other meeting. Off the recrod, for the record, is a good idea but was unexpected I think by a lot of people, not just me. It is a way for the decision maker to realy go at it and be challenged not only by the mod, but by the tons of media peple there.
Not a compete list but from my scribbled notes..
Dept of Homeland Security
HHS "Health and human services"
H1N1 Task Force
White House media
Dept of Education
Va dept of Health
Maryland dept of Health
Newshour/with Jim Lehr
There were also Drs, Data recroders, onlookers and a few other technical types and Photographers/cameramen.
The room was full.
There was quite a bit of robust discussion and it was started out by no other than DEM from Ct. He got the first question from Sawyer and the ball was rollin. The exercise had started and didn't let up for about 3 hrs, till we took a break around 11.
Since we weren't to talk aout who said what, I think in general terms I can try to give a picture of what the exercise was about.
The scenario's were more or less how certain things would be handled in the case of adverse events not in the gov'ts direct control. How would they handle a incident overeas and a whole myriad of other situations, many I had never invisioned.
I tell ya, these guys are thinking and really put or health officials to the test. To see how they handled them was a credit to strong training and quick thinking. Not everything went so smooth all the time and there were a few laughs from everyone at times and it broke the tension in the atmosphere. Serious bizz these pandemic exercises..
went for a smoke and to find my lady.She was asleep in the car and payin High $$ to park. Without her taking care of me you wouldn't get very much news from me. She is as competely involved and knows as much as you do about Panflu 09.
Another kiss and not much time so I ran back downstairs and caught up with the gang and lisa frm Cidrap. She is cool as hell and we talked about the Egypt coinfection thing and she complemented FT for the work they did on translations and Sharon tell us of some news of what Egypt was doing with the pigs and then break was over..more coffee and we went back in for
Forrest Sawyer goes back to the screen and we follow in the book. The next scenario is about who will get the vaccine and why and what order. These things are already known but they are tested by the media guys and the media is asked how they will report on certain problems that arise. Some media said they would ride the problem like a rented mule. During these times I said to myself...What?.. and take Michael Jackson off the t.v. screen! You mean you would talk about a pandemic for more than 20 seconds! If you could have seen my eyes roll when they said that!
I see the news and read the reports everyday and I know who reports what. If I saw actual realtime facts on tv...oh nevermind.
Lunchbreak and time for a smoke..
I had lunch at the table with Sharon, Mike, Maggie Fox and another guy not sure who he was and not sure if they knew who I was. Good lunch, ran for a smoke, Got a kiss and back we went for
The last part of the exercise was the wrap up and the part called a hotwash. A vaccine truck crashed and how were they gonna handle it. They really put these guys to the test and the media types were no slouches for the most part.
There were some that said very little and others that had the hard questions for the health guys and gals and Forrest Sawyer was relentless on them.
Of course none of the answers were writtin in stone, but most seemed **** good to me.
A lot of the answers to questions asked were already known to me and to you. Nothing added to any vaccines if not absolutely neccesary and all vacs are voluntary. This is an evolving situation and as much as we dont like it, or don't want to face it, we have no choice in the matter. Time to man up.
There will always be risks of problems in some cases of any vaccine use, but the benefits outweigh the risk. After all, this is a full blown pandemic and a vaccine is really all we are gonna have. At the end, everyone at the table had a chance to give a little summary on what they thought of the operation and what they liked and disliked about it, general statements and such.
Man was I glad..tired but glad to attend this meeting, as I think it will my last for a long time. I stand to strech out for a couple minutes and Mr. Fauci walks right by and we shake hand again real good and exchange a few words. I tell sharon good bye and thank you and that i will be home in 3 hrs and you know what I will be doing.
I head for the steps and reach for asmoke and when I get outside, I see Dr Schuchat. I shake her hand and tell her I have few ideas that may be helpful and she says great, email me and she gives me her email. She hops In a black gov't ride and I head for the Trooper and my ever faithful girl... we have a long ride home.
The pandemic is here now and I know for myself, that we won't go down without a fight.
These people are doing the very best they can under the circumstances. After Tamiflu wears it's usefulness out, what are you gonna have? You can't stay in your house and away from people forever. I can't drink cow urine. I dont have a cow.
You can kick and you can scream and say it's a lie, but scientist and vaccine makers have families too.They are not making something, they themselves don't believe, won't be helpful to mankind.
I won't apologize for any previous lack of preparedness messages and I do think they could do better in that dept. Hopefully they will start to.