WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Sunday that the nation’s public health system was preparing to fight the H1N1, or swine flu, virus but, he added, the system itself has its own challenges on the eve of what may be a historic flu season.
“Is there anything that you need?” CNN Chief National Correspondent John King asked Dr. Thomas Frieden in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “Now that you’re in your new job in Atlanta?”
“Well, I think the challenges are really significant,” Frieden told King.
The CDC head said that the nation’s public health infrastructure has suffered from “literally decades of underinvestment,” compounded now by the fiscal crises some states and localities are facing in the midst of the recession.
“Our health care system is not well set up to coordinate. It’s not well set up to have an information system that allows us to manage the population’s health well. And, frankly, it’s not set up to prioritize prevention. And those are things that make addressing H1N1 more difficult.”
Frieden also said Sunday that the new H1N1 vaccination would be safe and effective notwithstanding the fact that it involved a new strain and that production had been hurried to try to meet the traditional start of the flu season in the fall.
“My kids are going to get this vaccination when it becomes available,” Frieden said Sunday.