Ohio Declares H1N1 State of Emergency

On Oct. 7, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland officially declared an emergency that affects the public health due to the national H1N1 influenza pandemic and the additional human resources that Ohio’s public health agencies will need to quickly receive, distribute, account for and provide vaccinations to its residents. Governor Strickland’s declaration of emergency allows only EMT-Intermediates and EMT-Paramedics who are certified under Section 4765.30 of the Ohio Revised Code to perform H1N1 immunizations and administer drugs or dangerous drugs related to the H1N1 virus provided they:

  1. have received the appropriate training and;
  2. are under physician medical direction.

JEMS learned through Ohio’s State Medical Director Carol A. Cunningham, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, that the “H1N1 Vaccinations for Ohio EMS Personnel” training module is posted on the Ohio Department of Public Safety, Division of EMS website atwww.ems.ohio.gov.The training module is free-of-charge and is composed of a PowerPoint presentation, an H1N1 immunization skills checklist, Appendix D of the Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, and an instructor guide.

In her letter to all EMS personnel in Ohio, Cunningham stated that because H1N1 immunizations may be deemed public health or occupational health care, they will have a different standard of care than emergency medical care. The training module contains guidelines from the CDC for the creation of immunization records, the patient and vaccine data that should be recorded, and the information that must be provided to the patient before and after the immunization has been given.

Cunningham stated that local public health departments retain the authority and oversight for the patient screening processes, patient care documentation, maintenance of medical records, and provision of follow-up care for their immunization programs.

In August 2009, the Ohio EMS Board recommended that the protocols for administration of the H1N1 immunizations by Ohio EMT-Intermediates and EMT-Paramedics be provided and overseen by local public health agencies. Thus, the physician providing medical oversight during Ohio s H1N1 mass immunization campaign will be designated by the local public health agency and may not be the EMS medical director of the EMS agency.

Cunningham also reminded EMS personnel that the CDC’s priorities were for at-risk populations — health-care workers, pregnant women, all people from 6 months through 24 years of age, household contacts and caregivers for children younger than 6 months of age, and people aged 25 years through 64 years who have health conditions associated with higher risk of medical complications from influenza. The training module notes that the intranasal formulation is contraindicated for several segments of the at-risk populations identified by the CDC.

View theGovernor’s press conference (video)regarding the H1N1 pandemic

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