The threat of a swine flu epidemic in 1976 swept across the United States. During that time frame, the federal government and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that everyone get vaccinated. However, the epidemic never actually occurred. The epidemic was a threat that never happened and never materialized. But, what did happen were several cases of an uncommon side effect that experts believed was linked to the vaccination. The national campaign to get get people vaccinated against the threat of swine flu lasted about 10 weeks before it was cut short.
The swine flu epidemic in 1976 that never occurred and the problem with the vaccination that was supposed to prevent it caused a very public backlash against flu vaccination in general. On top of that the federal government faced public embarrassment. Furthermore, the director of the CDC lost his job. Because of the pandemic fears that swept the nation and the controversy over the vaccine has fueled American’s anxiety about the current swine flue outbreak.
Remembering the swine flu epidemic in 1976 has caused many people to decide against getting the current H1N1 vaccine. The debacle held critical lessons for both the government and other health officials. Officials have to keep the public informed and be honest about what they know and what they do not know. There must be a plan in place to should the threat of the swine flu virus becomes dangerous. Plus, the government must be able to reassure the public that they do not have to worry in the meantime. Hopefully, what happened with the swine flu epidemic in 1976 served as a lesson learned.