Immunization Action Coalition and the Hepatitis B Coalition

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Issue Number 227            February 15, 2001

CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE

  1. Kentucky passes school requirements for hepatitis B and varicella vaccination
  2. WHO releases statement on MMR vaccine
  3. Tonight's "ER" features story on measles
  4. NEJM studies conclude there is no relationship between hepatitis B vaccine and multiple sclerosis
  5. VIS software available in four languages
  6. National Immunization Conference to include adult and adolescent immunization issues
  7. European Conference on Vaccinology to be held in Lucerne, Switzerland, on March 21-23, 2001

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(1)
February 15, 2001
KENTUCKY PASSES SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS FOR HEPATITIS B AND VARICELLA VACCINATION

On February 1, 2001, the Kentucky legislature passed school requirements for hepatitis B and varicella vaccination. Beginning August 1, 2001, varicella vaccination (or immunity) will be required for daycare and school entry and hepatitis B vaccination will be required for sixth grade entry.

The varicella law requires the following: "Beginning August 1, 2001, for children at least nineteen (19) months of age and less than forty-nine (49) months of age one dose of varicella, unless a parent, guardian or physician states that the child has had chickenpox disease."

The new hepatitis B law allows schools to enforce legislation passed a year ago stating that all public or private primary schools must require a current immunization certificate for hepatitis B vaccination for children enrolled in sixth grade.

Go to: http://www.immunize.org/laws to get the latest information compiled by the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) on state mandates for hepatitis B and varicella prevention.

To view IAC's chart of state mandates for varicella prevention and their implementation dates, go to: http://www.immunize.org/laws/varicel.htm

To view IAC's chart of state mandates for hepatitis B prevention and their implementation dates, go to: http://www.immunize.org/laws/hepb.htm

We depend on our readers to help us stay informed and to ensure we offer the most accurate and current information available on state vaccination mandates. Please let us know when any changes occur in your state.
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(2)
February 15, 2001
WHO RELEASES STATEMENT ON MMR VACCINE

On January 24, 2001, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement to address recent concerns that MMR vaccines may be linked to Crohn's disease and autism. An article by Dr. A. Wakefield and Dr. S.M. Montgomery, titled "Measles, Mumps, Rubella Vaccine: Through a Glass Darkly," appeared in the January 29, 2001, issue of Adverse Drug Reaction and Toxicological Reviews described the alleged association and suggested that MMR vaccines were licensed prematurely.

The WHO statement reads in part: "WHO has noted that other scientists have not been able to reproduce the results claimed by Dr. Wakefield and his team regarding measles virus in the gut. His published observations regarding the onset of autism following administration of MMR vaccine do not meet the scientific criteria required to suggest that the vaccine is the cause. Other studies not cited by Dr. Wakefield find no link with autism or Crohn's disease."

The WHO position on the use of MMR vaccine reads as follows:

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WHO strongly endorses the use of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine on the grounds of its convincing record of safety and efficacy.

The combination vaccine is recommended rather than monovalent presentation when available and the disease burden justifies its use.

There has been no new scientific evidence that would suggest impaired safety of MMR. On the contrary, all results from vaccine trials published reaffirm the high safety and efficacy of MMR vaccine.

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To read the complete WHO statement online, go to: http://www.who.int/vaccines-diseases/safety/hottop/mmrstatement.htm
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(3)
February 15, 2001
TONIGHT'S "ER" FEATURES STORY ON MEASLES

Tonight's episode of "ER" may hold special interest for health professionals who immunize. In the emergency room, Dr. Carter struggles to save the life of a child whose parents refused to immunize him against measles.

"ER" airs on local NBC stations at 10 p.m. Eastern Time, 9 p.m. Central Time.
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(4)
February 15, 2001
NEJM STUDIES CONCLUDE THERE IS NO RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HEPATITIS B VACCINE AND MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

According to two studies published in the February 1, 2001, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, hepatitis B vaccine does not cause multiple sclerosis (MS) in healthy people and does not increase the risk of relapse in MS patients.

In "Hepatitis B Vaccination and the Risk of Multiple Sclerosis," authors Alberto Ascherio, et al., looked at two large cohorts of nurses in the United States: the Harvard Nurses Health Study (which has followed 121,700 women since 1976) and the Nurses Health Study II (which has followed 116,671 women since 1989). They investigated reports of MS developing after hepatitis B vaccination in previously healthy adults. The results indicated "no association between hepatitis B vaccination and the development of multiple sclerosis."

To view the abstract for this article online, go to: http://www.nejm.org/content/2001/0344/0005/0327.asp

In the second study, "Vaccinations and the Risk of Relapse in Multiple Sclerosis," researchers Christian Confavreux, et al., investigated the concern over reports of an increased risk of active MS after hepatitis B vaccination. The authors concluded, "Vaccination does not appear to increase the short-term risk of relapse in multiple sclerosis."

To view the abstract for this article online, go to: http://www.nejm.org/content/2001/0344/0005/0319.asp

An editorial the same issue, "The Risk of Vaccination--The Importance of 'Negative' Studies," written by Bruce Gellin, MD, MPH, and William Schaffner, MD, explores why skepticism about vaccines seems to be increasing and points to the importance of relying on scientific studies to help sort out anecdotal information from research-based evidence. They state that "for many adverse events, particularly those that are rare or delayed beyond the immediate post immunization period, only well-designed, well-conducted epidemiologic studies can determine which events are genuinely causally related."

To read the full text of the editorial, go to: http://www.nejm.org/content/2001/0344/0005/0372.asp
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(5)
February 15, 2001
VIS SOFTWARE AVAILABLE IN FOUR LANGUAGES

Healthway Software has produced CD-ROM versions of current Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) in English, Spanish, Bosnian, and Vietnamese. These software versions use both audio and text to provide information contained in VISs produced by CDC. These easy-to-use versions of the VISs offer additional ways to present the information to patients in their native languages. The audio portion in particular can be critical for patients who have low literacy skills.

For more information or to order copies, call Healthway Software at (701) 461-9294, or visit http://www.healthwaysoftware.com
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(6)
February 15, 2001
NATIONAL IMMUNIZATION CONFERENCE TO INCLUDE ADULT AND ADOLESCENT IMMUNIZATION ISSUES

The National Immunization Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that no separate adult immunization conference is scheduled for 2001. Instead, the National Immunization Conference, held May 29-June 1 in Atlanta, will include many sessions on adult and adolescent immunization topics.

For more information about the National Immunization Conference, visit http://www.cdc.gov/nip/NIC/default.htm or contact Rick Nelson at 404-639-8225 or via email at mrn2@cdc.gov
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(7)
February 15, 2001
EUROPEAN CONFERENCE ON VACCINOLOGY TO BE HELD IN LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND, ON MARCH 21-23, 2001

The European Vaccine Manufacturers (EVM) will hold its fifth European conference on vaccinology, "A Safe Future with Vaccination" in Lucerne, Switzerland, on March 21-23, 2001.

Pharmaceutical experts from across Europe will discuss the state of vaccination, vaccine safety and vaccine development in Europe.

For a program and registration information, visit the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) website: http://www.efpia.org/5_conf/default.htm

 

Immunization Action Coalition1573 Selby AvenueSt. Paul MN 55104
E-mail: admin@immunize.org Web: http://www.immunize.org/
Tel: (651) 647-9009Fax: (651) 647-9131

This page was updated on February 15, 2001