In the past week, dozens of Mississippians have come down with the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu. Since May, the state has recorded nearly 600 cases.
One step toward being ready was a conversation among state and national leaders in Jackson Tuesday.
"As far as getting to care, I know we do need to work something out," said
Dr. Mary Currier, state epidemiologist.
Officials fear flu season could start earlier and prove worse than in past years, because of the swine flu.
"We expect that we'll have sort of a double dose. So twice as many people may get sick, twice as many people may need hospitalization," said Jane Holl Lute, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Officials say they hope that will be offset by a vaccine that should arrive in Mississippi next month.
"Part of what we've done is invested in trying to get as much of the vaccine produced in record time," said Cong. Bennie Thompson.
The emphasis is far more on helping communities and individuals get the information they need and take the steps that are appropriate.
Some of those steps, as highlighted in a recent letter to Mississippi parents, include hand washing and coughing into your sleeve instead of your hand.
Hopefully, we will be able to stem the tide.
State health officials say they may try to set up vaccine clinics in some schools, so students who want it, have access to it.