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HHS Was 'Terrified' During H1N1 Outbreak


By Brian Kalish October 25, 2010

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The breakout of the H1N1 virus forced the Health and Human Services Department to move faster than usual because people's lives were on the line, an official said on Monday.

"We were terrified what was going to happen with the flu pandemic," said Jenny Backus, the agency's principal deputy assistant secretary for public affairs about rumors that could have spread about the H1N1 vaccine on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Speaking Monday at the 2010 American Council for Technology/Industry Advisory Council Executive Leadership Conference in Williamsburg, Va., Backus said that one wrong piece of information could have endangered lives.

But she added, "In government, it's only when your facing a disaster, that you get the guts to try new social media tools.


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