Shortage of H1N1 Vaccine opinion pie chart

Here on the Healthy Travel Blog, we’ve been talking about H1N1 readiness and flu prevention when traveling overseas.  And for good reason.  The “swine flu” is the first pandemic in 41 years and all Americans should be educated about H1N1 both domestically and when traveling out of the country.

A recent poll administered by HTH Worldwide indicates that more than one-third of international physicians are anticipating a shortage of the H1N1 vaccine this fall in their country.  This is certainly not the best news for those who regularly travel abroad, or are overseas for the semester.  These health care providers also dispelled the idea that production of the H1N1 vaccine would interfere with regular production of the seasonal flu vaccine.  Fortunately, about two-thirds of the doctors polled say they expect an adequate supply of seasonal flu vaccine in their country this year.  Unfortunately, physicians from developing countries are more pessimistic, expecting shortages of both vaccines.

Despite concerns over potential shortages, physicians are preparing themselves to care for more patients this fall.  Nearly half of respondents in adult primary care and pediatrics reported increased preparations to treat larger numbers of patients with seasonal flu and H1N1.  These doctors are increasing office hours and staff personnel and accepting patients without appointments.

Who responded to this poll?  English-speaking, international HTH physicians from more than 50 countries like the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Belize, France, Argentina, Egypt, China, Croatia, India, Pakistan, Spain, Japan, Peru, Brazil, Tunisia and Vietnam, to name a few.

This survey shows that international doctors are taking both seasonal influenza and H1N1 very seriously.  Only time will tell if there is enough of both vaccines, but the medical community is preparing to help more patients than ever.  The majority of respondents are advising patients in their areas who believe they are infected with H1N1 to schedule an appointment with a private physician or visit a public health facility designated specifically to treat those with H1N1.

If you are an HTH member traveling overseas and think you may have influenza or H1N1, contact HTH to schedule you an appointment with a local, pre-qualified doctor who speaks English.  And you won’t have to worry about paying for your treatment out of pocket.

This is the first glimpse we’ve offered of what international physicians are thinking in terms of preparing for both common influenza and H1N1 treatment this fall.  We will continue to track this issue in an effort to best prepare and educate our customers and readers.


About The Author

Laura Hilton serves as head of International Provider Network Development. Laura oversees all HTH international medical assistance operations and leads development of HTH’s international provider community and online databases from her office in London. Laura joined HTH in 2000 in the role of international provider recruitment and relations. She has extensive experience in emergency assistance operations and has developed medical evacuation plans for over 500 corporations. Fluent in five languages, she has traveled throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the former Soviet Union to evaluate international medical facilities and design healthcare solutions for travelers and business expatriates. Laura is a graduate of Yale University with a B.A.

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