The 1976 Swine Flu Debacle: Lessons Learned by the U.S. Govt.

By Sadie Bass

Oct 6, 2009 5:21pm

There’s little question that the government’s handling of the 1976 Swine Flu immunization efforts were a debacle.  Jeremy Hubbard took a look back at the history…the push to get everyone vaccinated…the famous scene of President Ford rolling up his sleeve.  Interestingly here is an excerpt from a CDC write up that looks back at the mistakes made by the government when it came to communicating with the public over the ’76 immunization effort: 

“…effective communication from scientifically qualified persons was lacking, and the perception prevailed that the program was motivated by politics rather than science. In retrospect (and to some observers at the time), the president's highly visible convened meeting and subsequent press conference, which included pictures of his being immunized, were mistakes. These instances seemed to underline the suspicion that the program was politically motivated, rather than a public health response to a possible catastrophe.”

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