The year was marked by intense concern over the H1N1 flu outbreak. In June, the World Health Organization announces a global flu pandemic related to the virus that emerged in the U.S. in late April. Popularly referred to as “swine flu,” the disease arrives just as former Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius takes the helm of HHS. By the fall, the federal government draws praise for its efforts to combat the outbreak even as officials worry about the nation’s ability to cope with the disease.
A delay in vaccine production against the deadly flu virus hampers the nation’s response to the pandemic. More than 50 regions and states must wait longer to receive their allotments; plan for distribution with a limited dose supply; and manage a jittery public—just as flu season gets under way.