Response to pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza in Australia - lessons from a State health department perspective

Aust Health Rev. 2010 Nov;34(4):477-86. doi: 10.1071/AH10901.


This article reviews the lessons that can be learned by the health sector, in particular, and the public sector, more generally, from the governmental response to pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza A (pH1N1) in Australia during 2009. It covers the period from the emergence of the epidemic to the release of the vaccine, and describes a range of impacts on the Western Australian health system, the government sector and the community. There are three main themes considered from a State government agency perspective: how decisions were influenced by prior planning; how the decision making and communication processes were intimately linked; and the interdependent roles of States and the Commonwealth Government in national programs. We conclude that: (a) communications were generally effective, but need to be improved and better coordinated between the Australian Government, States and general practice; (b) decision making was appropriately flexible, but there needs to be better alignment with expert advice, and consideration of the need for a national disease control agency in Australia; and (c) national funding arrangements need to fit with the model of state-based service delivery and to support critical workforce needs for surge capacity, as well as stockpile and infrastructure requirements.

MeSH terms

  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Disease Outbreaks / economics
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Federal Government
  • Health Planning / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype*
  • Influenza Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Influenza Vaccines / supply & distribution
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control
  • Influenza, Human / virology
  • Interinstitutional Relations
  • State Government
  • Surge Capacity / organization & administration
  • Western Australia / epidemiology


  • Influenza Vaccines