Immunization Action Coalition and the Hepatitis B Coalition

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Issue Number 251            June 8, 2001

CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE

  1. Minnesota Department of Health urges hospitals to resume universal hepatitis B vaccination at birth
  2. CDC publishes update on influenza activity and the composition of the 2001-02 influenza vaccine
  3. CDC offers new website for TTY users

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(1)
June 8, 2001
MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH URGES HOSPITALS TO RESUME UNIVERSAL HEPATITIS B VACCINATION AT BIRTH

The following article "Resuming Universal Hepatitis B Vaccination at Birth" is reprinted from the May 2001 issue of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) "Disease Control Newsletter" (vol. 29, page 15).

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During the past year, MDH investigated six instances in which Twin Cities metropolitan area hospitals missed opportunities to give appropriate prophylaxis at birth to infants born to hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-positive women. The interval between delivery and administration of the first dose of hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccine ranged from 20 days to more than 2 months, leaving the infants vulnerable to transmission of HBV from their mothers. Three of the six cases were due to errors in documentation. The mothers' positive hepatitis B test results were not documented correctly in the infants' records, resulting in missed opportunities to administer hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) and the first dose of HBV vaccine within 12 hours of birth.

Investigations of the three other cases indicated a lack of adherence to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations for prevention of perinatal hepatitis B. All three women had unknown HBsAg status upon admission for delivery, and the infants were not given HBV vaccine or HBIG. In such instances, ACIP recommends a stat HBsAg test for the mother and HBV vaccine for the infant within 12 hours of birth. HBIG should be administered as soon as possible or within 7 days if the mother's test results are HBsAg-positive.

These types of medical errors can be prevented if birthing hospitals institute universal policies for vaccinating all infants with HBV vaccine, regardless of the mother's hepatitis B status. Such a policy is especially important in hospitals that serve populations at high risk for hepatitis B. Following the development of thimerosal-free HBV vaccines, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Public Health Service recommended reinstituting universal vaccination policies for neonates in hospitals that had discontinued such policies due to concerns about thimerosal.

For more information about prevention of perinatal hepatitis B, call the MDH Immunization Hotline at (800) 657-3970 or visit our hepatitis website: http://www.health.state.mn.us/hepatitis [This site includes information on viral hepatitis and vaccines, recommendations regarding workplace exposure to viral hepatitis, surveillance data, and more.]

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(2)
June 8, 2001
CDC PUBLISHES UPDATE ON INFLUENZA ACTIVITY AND THE COMPOSITION OF THE 2001-02 INFLUENZA VACCINE

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published an article titled "Update: Influenza Activity--United States and Worldwide, 2000-01 Season, and Composition of the 2001-02 Influenza Vaccine" in the June 8, 2001, issue of "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report" (MMWR).

The article reports that "The Food and Drug Administration's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) recommended that the 2001-02 trivalent influenza vaccine for the United States contain A/New Caledonia/20/99-like (H1N1), A/Moscow/10/99-like (H3N2), and B/Sichuan/379/99-like viruses. This recommendation was based on antigenic analyses of recently isolated influenza viruses, epidemiologic data, and postvaccination serologic studies in humans."

Summarizing influenza activity during the past influenza season, the Editorial Note states: "Influenza A (H1N1) and B viruses co-circulated in the United States and worldwide during the 2000-01 influenza season. Influenza A (H3N2) viruses were isolated sporadically and no country reported widespread activity as a result of influenza A (H3N2) viruses. Seasons in which influenza A (H1N1) and/or influenza B viruses predominate typically have been less severe than seasons in which influenza A (H3N2) viruses circulate widely. The level of influenza activity reported this season was consistent with a number of other A (H1N1) and B predominant years."

To obtain the full text of this article online, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5022a4.htm

HOW TO OBTAIN A FREE ELECTRONIC SUBSCRIPTION TO THE MMWR:
To obtain a free electronic subscription to the "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report" (MMWR), visit CDC's MMWR website at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr Select "Free MMWR Subscription" from the menu at the left of the screen. Once you have submitted the required information, weekly issues of the MMWR and all new ACIP statements (published as MMWR's "Recommendations and Reports") will arrive automatically by e-mail.
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(3)
June 8, 2001
CDC OFFERS NEW WEBSITE FOR TTY USERS

CDC's National Immunization Information Hotline now offers a new website for TTY users. Visitors to the site can view videotaped American Sign Language answers to questions about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases that are most frequently asked by people calling the TTY Service Hotline. Go to: http://www.vaccines.ashastd.org/ttyservice.html and click on "FAQ" to view the video clips or text answers to frequently asked questions.

The CDC National Immunization Information Hotline TTY Service is open Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Eastern Time. The hotline provides information on a variety of topics such as vaccine safety, immunization recommendations, and U.S. immunization policy. The TTY staff can answer questions about vaccine-preventable diseases, refer callers to useful websites and other resources, and send publications about vaccines. The TTY staff is trained in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language (ASL). To reach the TTY hotline, call (800) 243-7889.

CDC's National Immunization Information Hotline number is (800) 232-2522. For inquiries in Spanish, call (800) 232-0233.  

 

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 June 8, 2001