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Immunization Action Coalition

IAC Express 2011

Issue number 917: March 14, 2011

Please click here to subscribe to IAC Express as well as other FREE IAC periodicals.
Contents of this Issue
Select a title to jump to the article.
  1. U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of vaccine manufacturers
  2. IAC updates three immunization schedules for the public--one about babies, one about children and teens, and a third about 11-19-year-olds
  3. Spotlight on immunize.org: where you'll find links to local and state immunization coalitions
  4. National Infant Immunization Week to be observed April 23-30; CDC offers resources
  5. CDC publishes best practices on the use of PCR testing for pertussis diagnosis
  6. IAC's Video of the Week offers training on obtaining specimens for pertussis testing
  7. New report from Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota explores ways to improve the immunization rates of Minnesota's children and teens
  8. CDC offers the 2011 immunization schedules in new formats
  9. 5 more U.S. children died from complications of influenza the first week of March, so please keep vaccinating!
  10. MMWR reports on two cases of Japanese encephalitis in children in the United States
  11. Award-winning DVD! "Immunization Techniques: Best Practices with Infants, Children, and Adults"--from the California Department of Public Health, Immunization Branch
  12. IAC corrects information in its article about the mobile devices for which "Shots 2011" software is currently available
 
Abbreviations
AAFP, American Academy of Family Physicians; AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics; ACIP, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices; AMA, American Medical Association; CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; FDA, Food and Drug Administration; IAC, Immunization Action Coalition; MMWR, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report; NCIRD, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases; NIVS, National Influenza Vaccine Summit; VIS, Vaccine Information Statement; VPD, vaccine-preventable disease; WHO, World Health Organization.
  
Issue 917: March 14, 2011
1.  U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of vaccine manufacturers

On Tuesday, February 22, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Bruesewitz v. Wyeth that manufacturers of childhood vaccines cannot be sued by individuals who claim that they suffered vaccine-related injuries as a result of an alleged "design defect" in the vaccine (i.e., a theory that a manufacturer should have distributed a vaccine designed differently from the one that the child received). In that case, the parents of Hannah Bruesewitz claimed that her residual seizure disorder was caused by her vaccination with a whole-cell DTP vaccine. The parents argued that Wyeth should be liable for distributing the whole-cell vaccine because, they claimed, a split-cell or acellular DTP vaccine would not have caused the injuries. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress had preempted such design defect claims as part of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (the "Vaccine Act").

In a 6-2 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the Vaccine Act only allows suits against vaccine manufacturers for vaccine-related injuries where the injuries are claimed to result from an improper manufacturing process or from the manufacturer's failure to provide adequate warnings and directions. Justice Scalia, writing for the Court, held that allegations that the injury would have been avoided by a differently designed vaccine cannot be a basis of liability, under the plain language of the Vaccine Act. Justice Breyer concurred, noting that permitting tort suits based on design defect claims would "undermine" a basic purpose of the Vaccine Act by threatening a resurgence of the litigation crisis of the 1980s that prompted Congress to pass the Act. That, in turn, would jeopardize the future production and development of childhood vaccines. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself because, during her tenure as Solicitor General, her office filed an amicus brief for the United States recommending that the Supreme Court accept the Bruesewitz case for review, and rule on the merits in Wyeth's favor.

The Vaccine Act includes a "no fault" vaccine compensation program that allows individuals claiming an injury from childhood vaccines, or their representatives, to file a petition for compensation in a specialized office within the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ("Vaccine Court"). Compensation decisions depend only upon a showing that a childhood vaccine caused the injury; no showing need be made that the manufacturer was somehow at fault, or that the vaccine was defective. This simplified compensation system is funded by an excise tax that manufacturers pay on each dose of vaccine that is administered. Hannah Bruesewitz's claim was initially brought in the compensation program, but was denied by the Vaccine Court, which found that her injuries were not caused by her immunization.

To access the text of the full Supreme Court decision, go to: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-152.pdf

To access an American Academy of Pediatrics press release about the Supreme Court decision, go to: http://www.aap.org/advocacy/washing/AAPPressReleaseBruesewitzRuling_2_22_11.pdf

To access a New York Times article about the Supreme Court decision, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/23/business/23bizcourt.html

IAC thanks Daniel J. Thomasch, attorney at law, Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe LLP, for writing this article for IAC Express.
 
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2 IAC updates three immunization schedules for the public--one about babies, one about children and teens, and a third about 11-19-year-olds

IAC recently revised the following three handouts related to vaccine schedules for the general public.

(1) IAC made minor edits to "Immunizations for Babies--A Guide for Parents." Go to: http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4010.pdf

(2) IAC updated "When Do Children and Teens Need Vaccinations?" to include revised recommendations regarding Tdap and meningococcal vaccination. Go to: http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4050.pdf

(3) IAC updated "Are you 11-19 years old? Then you need to be vaccinated against these serious diseases!" to include revised recommendations regarding Tdap and meningococcal vaccination. Go to: http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4020.pdf

IAC's Handouts for Patients and Staff web section offers healthcare professionals and the public approximately 250 FREE English-language handouts (many also available in translation), which we encourage website users to print out, copy, and distribute widely. To access all of IAC's free handouts, go to: http://www.immunize.org/handouts
 
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3 Spotlight on immunize.org: where you'll find links to local and state immunization coalitions

Looking for information online about local and state immunization coalitions? Look no further. The Immunization Coalitions Websites section on immunize.org is the newest addition to IAC's online compendium of immunization resources. For each coalition listed, you'll find a link to the group's website.

To access the Immunization Coalitions Websites section, go to: http://www.immunize.org/resources/coalitions-websites.asp

If you have an immunization coalition website that isn't already listed on the coalitions section and you would like us to add it, please email maryq@immunize.org

In addition, IAC maintains a database of immunization coalitions on a dedicated website: www.izcoalitions.org This website provides access to information about local, state, regional, national, and international immunization coalitions. To search the database or add your coalition, visit www.izcoalitions.org

If you notice that information about your coalition is incorrect and you do not know the user name or password, contact admin@izcoalitions.org
 
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4 National Infant Immunization Week to be observed April 23-30; CDC offers resources

National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance to promote the benefits of immunizations and to improve the health of children two years old or younger. NIIW is part of a broad global initiative with the World Health Organization Regions of the Americas, European, Eastern Mediterranean, Western Pacific, and Africa to promote vaccination through education and communication activities. Since 1994, NIIW has served as a call to action for parents, caregivers, and healthcare providers to ensure that infants are fully immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases.

This year, NIIW will be observed April 23-30. CDC has launched a 2011 NIIW web section that includes resources for planning a successful NIIW and descriptions of related activities and events around the nation. You can submit information about your organization's NIIW activities via a link on the site.

To access CDC NIIW web section, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niiw/index.html

Already have plans for your local or state NIIW event? Notify CDC of your plans by completing the NIIW activity form, which can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niiw/activities/activity-form.html
 
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5 CDC publishes best practices on the use of PCR testing for pertussis diagnosis

CDC has published a compilation of best practices to help healthcare professionals optimize the use of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing for pertussis by avoiding some of the more common pitfalls leading to inaccurate results.

With the continuing resurgence of pertussis, healthcare professionals will see more patients with suspected pertussis. PCR is an important tool for timely diagnosis of pertussis and is increasingly available to clinicians. PCR is a molecular technique used to detect DNA sequences of the Bordetella pertussis bacterium and unlike culture, does not require viable (live) bacteria present in the specimen. Despite these advantages, PCR can give results that are falsely-negative or falsely-positive. Following the best practices for whom to test, when to test, collection techniques, and preventing contamination of clinical specimens with DNA from pertussis vaccines will better ensure that accurate test results that reliably inform patient diagnosis are obtained.

To access "Best Practices for Health Care Professionals on the use of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) for Diagnosing Pertussis," go to: http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/clinical/downloads/diagnosis-pcr-bestpractices.pdf

For information from CDC on pertussis diagnostic testing, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/clinical/diagnostic-testing/index.html
 
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6 IAC's Video of the Week offers training on obtaining specimens for pertussis testing

IAC encourages healthcare professionals to watch two 4-minute videos on how to properly obtain specimens for pertussis testing.

Determining who has pertussis can be difficult. Whenever possible, a nasopharyngeal swab or aspirate should be obtained from all persons with suspected cases. CDC offers two videos (4 minutes each) that demonstrate how to properly obtain and transport pertussis specimens by the swab and aspiration methods. Both videos are available in English and Spanish.

The link to these videos will be available on the home page of IAC's website through March 20. To access it, go to: http://www.immunize.org and click on the image under the words Video of the Week. After March 20, you will still be able to access the videos directly from CDC's web page at http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/clinical/diagnostic-testing/specimen-collection.html

Remember to bookmark IAC's home page to view a new video every Monday. To view an IAC Video of the Week from the past, go to the video archive at http://www.immunize.org/votw
 
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7 New report from Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota explores ways to improve the immunization rates of Minnesota's children and teens

On March 8, Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota released a white paper titled "Check-Up 2: Vaccinations and the Challenges Confronting Minnesota Children," that explores the issues surrounding child and teen immunization in Minnesota.

As in other parts of the nation, immunization rates continue to be affected by poverty and the resulting disparities in care. Another issue having a negative impact on immunization rates is the convergence of complacence about disease risk and misinformation about the safety and efficacy of vaccination. The white paper explores both the issues affecting immunization rates, and ways to improve coverage.

To access the report, go to: http://www.childrensmn.org/web/voice4child/197148.pdf
 
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8 CDC offers the 2011 immunization schedules in new formats

CDC has added some new choices of formats for the 2011 immunization schedules to its website for children and adults. These include pocket-sized versions of the schedules as well as 11 x 17 versions.

To access new formats of the childhood schedule, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/child-schedule.htm#other

To access new formats of the adult schedule, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/adult-schedule.htm#hcp

For CDC's main page for the 2011 immunization schedules, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules
 
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9 5 more U.S. children died from complications of influenza the first week of March, so please keep vaccinating!

CDC reported 5 influenza-associated pediatric deaths for the week ending March 5, for a total of 60 confirmed influenza-associated pediatric deaths so far this season. Remember, influenza vaccination is recommended for everyone age 6 months and older, so please keep vaccinating your patients.

If you don't have influenza vaccine, you can direct patients to the Google Flu Vaccine Finder. It helps the public find nearby locations where influenza vaccine is available. It's as simple as entering a zip code. Visit the Google Flu Vaccine Finder: http://www.google.com/flushot

Following is a list of resources related to influenza disease and vaccination for healthcare professionals and the public.

To access IAC's handouts related to influenza, including screening questionnaires, patient education pieces, and sample standing orders, go to: http://www.immunize.org/handouts/influenza-vaccines.asp

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10.  MMWR reports on two cases of Japanese encephalitis in children in the United States

CDC published "Japanese Encephalitis in Two Children--United States, 2010" in the March 11 issue of MMWR. A summary made available to the press is reprinted below.


This report describes two cases of Japanese encephalitis that were reported to CDC in 2010. Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a mosquito-borne disease that occurs in Asia and the western Pacific region. Cases among persons who have traveled or lived overseas are infrequently diagnosed in the United States. Although uncommon in travelers, the disease can be serious. Health care providers should advise travelers to JE-endemic countries of the risk of JE virus infection and the importance of personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites. In addition, JE vaccine should be considered for some travelers who will be in a high-risk setting. JE should be considered in the differential diagnosis in a patient with an acute neurological infection recently returned from a JE-endemic country.


To access the full article, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6009a3.htm
 
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11.  Award-winning DVD! "Immunization Techniques: Best Practices with Infants, Children, and Adults"--from the California Department of Public Health, Immunization Branch

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Immunization Branch, has updated its award-winning training video, "Immunization Techniques: Best Practices with Infants, Children, and Adults." The 25-minute program can be used to train new employees and to refresh the skills of experienced staff. The video demonstrates the skills and techniques needed to administer vaccines to patients of all ages. It includes instruction on the following:
  • Selecting, preparing, and administering injectable, oral, and nasal vaccines
  • Documenting immunizations
  • Making patients comfortable and educating them
  • Facilitating staff and patient communication

Prices start at $17 each for 1-9 copies and are greatly reduced for large orders, dropping to $3 each for 1,000-1,499 copies.

To learn more about the DVD, and find out how to order it, go to: http://www.immunize.org/shop/toolkit_iztechdvd.asp

For quotes on larger quantities, call (651) 647-9009 or email admininfo@immunize.org

The Immunization Action Coalition is the only nationwide vendor of this new DVD.

Note for healthcare settings located in California: Contact your local health department immunization program for a free copy.

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12.  IAC corrects information in its article about the mobile devices for which "Shots 2011" software is currently available

On February 28, IAC published an IAC Express article that incorrectly stated that the "Shots 2011" quick-reference guides to the adult immunization schedule and the child, teen, and catch-up immunization schedules are currently available for iPhones and iPods (on iTunes store), and Android devices. The correct information is that "Shots 2011" is currently available only for Palm-OS handhelds and Pocket-PC handhelds.

According to information on the website of the Group on Immunization Education of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, "Shots 2011" software will "coming soon" for iPhones and iPods, and Android devices. IAC will notify IAC Express readers when this happens.

IAC regrets the error and any confusion it may have caused IAC Express readers.
 
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Immunization Action Coalition  •  Saint Paul, MN
tel 651-647-9009  •  fax 651-647-9131
 
This website is supported in part by a cooperative agreement from the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (Grant No. 5U38IP000290) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA. The website content is the sole responsibility of IAC and does not necessarily represent the official views of CDC.