“As much as from a data [collection] standpoint I hated that it wasn’t required … we needed everybody administering as much as possible,” said Angie Hagy, infectious disease epidemiologist for the City of Milwaukee Health Department’s Division of Disease Control and Environmental Health.
At a national level, the CDC developed a project with the University of Michigan to conduct regular surveys with immunization program managers via phone calls or e-mail (Clark et al., 2010). The surveys were designed to provide the CDC with real-time information about how states were implementing their vaccine distribution and administration plans. They also gave the CDC feedback on their communications as well as information about needs that could be addressed. In the early weeks, the surveys looked at which target groups the states were prioritizing for vaccine. In the later weeks, the surveys asked which states were doing school vaccinations, whether vaccine had been distributed to retail pharmacies, and what plans were made for coming weeks. Pascale Wortley, chief of the Health Services Research and Evaluation Branch of the CDC’s Immunization Services Division, noted that careful measures were needed to set up the survey project successfully and ensure that busy immunization program managers would be willing to invest the significant time needed to participate. She said the CDC worked through the Association of Immunization Managers (AIM) and ASTHO to develop buy-in, and also noted that the surveys were done by a team whom the immunization program managers already knew and had worked with before. The information was shared through AIM and ASTHO so states could learn what other states were doing. Although it was clear that data collection requirements should not become a burden to the public health and healthcare provider community, workshop participants also discussed how the absence of certain kinds of data had a negative impact on the vaccination campaign. Such data would have enabled them to adjust plans throughout the campaign and improve plans for the next public health emergency. Participants identified a number of datasets that were not available but that would have been valuable in informing their campaigns (Box 7-1). Therefore, as West Virginia’s Slemp highlighted, there is a need to develop and integrate standardized data collection systems into all pandemic plans and exercise these plans to ensure they will not be a burden during a response. Furthermore, several participants noted, more resources are needed to facilitate the collection and analysis of the data.