In 2009, as H1N1 became the central focus for local, state and national public health agencies, Mecklenburg County Health Department, serving the largest community in North Carolina, took on the challenge with a comprehensive and collaborative approach.
The National Incident Management System provided a framework for all activities of the three major initiatives:
Schools, daycare centers and hospitals were part of a network, bringing together data that supported real time surveillance systems that alerted staff of clusters of illness, which led to appropriate prevention measure.
Staff, volunteers, and community partners helped create and disseminate a successful multi-media campaign in culturally and linguistically appropriate formats to reduce risk, fear and misinformation. Over 42,000 children and adults received over 65,000 H1N1 immunizations in school settings; another 15,000 were immunized at health department and community-based clinics.
This large effort provided the Mecklenburg community not only protection from H1N1, but also created a tested and successfully executed plan for pandemics in the future.