The potential for co-circulation of influenza and COVID19 disease creates a challenging situation for the Fall and Winter in the US. It is very difficult to predict what might happen in the coming months. The effects of influenza, COVID-19, and other respiratory diseases in the Fall and Winter months could culminate in a severe season. Efforts to mitigate disease, such as influenza vaccination, offer another layer of personal protection.
To better prepare for the upcoming flu seasons, States need to address specific questions:
• Are states ready for how the coronavirus may impact the flu season?
• How can we safeguard flu vaccination and thereby minimize the impact of flu on the other respiratory diseases we confront?
• How can antivirals be used in the upcoming flu epidemic?
This discussion will explore learnings from the current Southern Hemisphere winter, where responses to both influenza and coronavirus are occurring simultaneously, offer insights as to how governments, providers and public health stakeholders in the Northern Hemisphere can prepare for the upcoming season.
Michelle Cantu, MPH
Director for Infectious Disease & Immunization
National Association of County and City Health Officials
Michelle Cantu is the Director for Infectious Disease and Immunization at the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), a nonprofit representing the nearly 3,000 local health departments nationwide. At NACCHO, Michelle leads the Immunization Program to increase local health department capacity in prevention and control of vaccine preventable diseases. She oversees the management of the immunization advisory workgroup, national partnerships among multidisciplinary groups addressing VPDs, and evaluation to further enhance programmatic strategies, policies, and activities. Michelle has over 13 years of leadership experience in public health with a focus on infectious disease prevention. Prior to her role at NACCHO, Michelle was the Director of Community-Based STD Prevention Initiatives at Essential Access Health (formerly California Family Health Council) in Los Angeles, California. She obtained her Master of Public Health (MPH) from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a focus in infectious diseases and epidemiology and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin.
Heather Richmond, MPH
Public Health Policy, Americas
Heather Richmond has worked in the pharmaceutical industry in a variety of capacities including clinical research, marketing/sales, external affairs, market access and health p0licy. Heather received her Masters, Health Policy from the George Washington University.
She currently works in global public health policy at Seqirus.
Litjen (L.J) Tan, MS, PhD
Chief Strategy Officer
Immunization Action Coalition
Prior to joining the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC), Dr. Tan was the director of medicine and public health at the American Medical Association (AMA) a position he held since 2008. From 1997 to 2008, he was the AMA’s director of infectious disease, immunology, and molecular medicine.
Dr. Tan was a voting member of the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Vaccine Advisory Committee from 2009 to 2013, where he served on the adult immunization, vaccine safety, and healthcare worker immunization working groups, and chaired the immunization infrastructure working group. He also served for more than ten years as the AMA’s liaison to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, where he served on the influenza, pneumococcal, zoster, and adult immunization working groups.
Amy Walker, MPH
Director, Infectious Diseases Policy
Biotechnology Innovation Organization
At BIO, Amy works on domestic and international policy issues related to vaccines, biodefense, and antimicrobial resistance. Amy leads BIO’s vaccine work on the state level, working with BIO members to develop consensus positions and determine BIO activities to ensure patient access to vaccines is not hindered by legislative or regulatory barriers and educating state policymakers about the importance and benefits of vaccines. Amy leads BIO’s Infectious Disease Policy Network project, which works to augment the capacity and capability of state-level pro-vaccine grassroots organizations.
Prior to joining BIO in 2013, Amy was a legislative assistant with Drinker Biddle & Reath’s health government relations team. While at Drinker Biddle, Amy served clients throughout the healthcare field, including patient advocacy organizations, provider associations, hospital systems, global health organizations, and consortia of pharmaceutical manufacturers. Amy began her career on Capitol Hill.