Immunization Action Coalition and the Hepatitis B Coalition

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Issue Number 298            February 25, 2002

CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE

  1. JAMA publishes 5-year study of impact of varicella vaccine
  2. CDC reports on cases of laboratory-acquired meningococcal disease
  3. Earn continuing education credit for reading new article on VAERS online
  4. Revised translation! "Immunization for Babies" in Spanish
  5. Immunization in long-term care facilities: New report covers state-by-state rules
  6. CDC publishes Notice to Readers on evaluation of anthrax vaccination of pregnant women

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February 25, 2002
JAMA PUBLISHES 5-YEAR STUDY OF IMPACT OF VARICELLA VACCINE

"Varicella Disease After Introduction of Varicella Vaccine in the United States, 1995-2000" was published in the February 6, 2002, issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association; vol. 287, no. 5). The report summarizes results of active surveillance in three communities from January 1,  1995 through December 31, 2000 and examines the relationship between varicella disease in children, adolescents, and adults and varicella vaccine uptake in children aged 19-35 months. According to the article, national varicella vaccine coverage among young children in 2000 reached 67.8 percent; the goal of 90 percent is supported by this study's finding that higher vaccine coverage rates appear to be linked to lower disease rates in communities.

The Comment section begins: "Four years after implementation of the varicella vaccination program in the United States, data from active surveillance areas showed dramatic evidence of vaccine impact with a marked decline in reported cases in all age groups. The decline in disease was greatest among preschool children; however, declines occurred in every age group including infants and adults, indicating reduced transmission of varicella zoster virus in these communities." A decline in "severe consequences of varicella," including hospitalizations, is also noted.

The authors of the article are Jane F. Seward, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Barbara M. Watson, M.B.Ch.B., Philadelphia Department of Public Health; Carol L. Peterson, M.D., M.P.H., and Laurene Mascola, M.D., M.P.H., Los Angeles County Department of Health Services; Jan W. Pelosi, M.P.H., Texas Department of Health; and seven others. Surveillance areas were Antelope Valley, California; Travis County, Texas; and West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

To see the Abstract of this article, go to:
http://jama.ama-assn.org/issues/v287n5/abs/joc10385.html

The entire article is available online at no charge only to registered users or subscribers to JAMA. To order the article online on a Pay Per View basis ($9.00 fee), go to:
https://secure.edoc.com/PPV2.html

To order individual reprints, call the JAMA reprint department at (312) 464-4594 or contact one of the independent reprint vendors listed at: http://pubs.ama-assn.org/docdelivery.html
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February 25, 2002
CDC REPORTS ON CASES OF LABORATORY-ACQUIRED MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE

On February 22, 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published "Laboratory- cquired Meningococcal Disease--United States, 2000" in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report  (MMWR). Sixteen cases of probable laboratory-acquired meningococcal disease were detected. In 15  of the 16 cases, according to the report, "the laboratory reportedly did not perform procedures within a biosafety cabinet."

The Editorial Note to the article reads in part as follows (footnotes excluded):

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Although the risk for disease remains low, laboratory-acquired meningococcal disease represents an occupational hazard to microbiologists. . . . Each year in the United States, approximately 3,000 isolates of invasive N. menigitidis are cultured; on the basis of standard practices used for isolation and  identification of N. meningitidis, each of the clinical samples and isolates is handled by an average of three microbiologists during the course of a laboratory investigation, resulting in an estimated 9,000  microbiologists exposed per year. . . .Research and industrial laboratory scientists who are exposed routinely to N. meningitidis in solutions that might be aerosolized also should consider vaccination. In addition, vaccination might be used as an adjunctive measure by microbiologists in clinical laboratories.

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To obtain the complete text of the article online, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5107a1.htm

To obtain a camera-ready (PDF format) copy of this issue of MMWR, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/wk/mm5107.pdf

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 email.
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February 25, 2002
EARN CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDIT FOR READING NEW ARTICLE ON VAERS ONLINE

You can read the new article "Vaccine Post-Marketing Surveillance: The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System" for free credit: 1.25 hours of Continuing Medical Education (CME), 1.3 hours of Continuing Nursing Education (CNE), or .1 hour of Continuing Education (CE) credit. Whether you read it for formal credit or for your own professional enhancement, the article provides a current overview of vaccine safety surveillance and issues related to VAERS.

The 16-page article, recently made available by the National Immunization Program (NIP) within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), can be read online, downloaded and printed, or ordered in hard-copy form from VAERS. Educational credit can be obtained only online by completing the "educational activity" on CDC's website--instructions follow the text of the article.

To obtain a camera-ready (PDF format) copy of the article online, go to:
http://www.vaers.org/pdf/vaers_ce_new.pdf

To request a mailed hard copy of the article, contact VAERS by phone at (800) 822-7967 or email at info@vaers.org

To access information about and links to the continuing education activity, go to:
http://www.vaers.org/ce.htm

For assistance or further information, contact the CDC Continuing Education Unit by phone at (800) 418-7246 or email at ce@cdc.gov
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February 25, 2002
REVISED TRANSLATION! "IMMUNIZATION FOR BABIES" IN SPANISH

This chart is an easy visual planner and reminder for parents of infants. We updated the English  version in January to reflect the new Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations on the birth dose of hepatitis B vaccine (see IAC EXPRESS #279).

Now we have revised the Spanish translation, "Inmunizaciones para Bebes," as well.

To obtain a copy of "Inmunizaciones para Bebes," go to:
HTML: http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4010-01.htm
PDF: http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4010-01.pdf

To obtain a copy of the English "Immunizations for Babies," go to:
HTML: http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4010.htm
PDF: http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4010imm.pdf

For information on the new birth dose recommendation, read "ACIP votes on birth dose of hepatitis B vaccine" at: http://www.immunize.org/genr.d/issue279.htm
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February 25, 2002
IMMUNIZATION IN LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES: NEW REPORT COVERS STATE-BY-STATE RULES

The Health Policy Tracking Service (HPTS) of the National Conference of State Legislatures has published a report titled "State Policies, Laws, and Regulations Governing Immunizations in Long-Term Care Facilities" (November 2001). The report was prepared for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which helped develop the survey on which the report is based.

The 138-page report (not including appendixes) specifically compares state mandates for influenza and pneumococcal vaccination and state rules for the use of standing orders to promote vaccination. For each state, presented in alphabetical order, information is provided on nursing homes, intermediate-care facilities, and/or assisted living facilities and the "immunization standards" that apply to each.

According to the Executive Summary, as of October 2001 only 18 states had immunization policies for residents of long-term care facilities, and of those, only 6 states required that flu and/or pneumococcal vaccines be administered. Influenza and pneumococcal illness are leading causes of death in people aged 65 and older.

To obtain a camera-ready (PDF format) copy of the report online, go to:
http://www.hpts.org/info/info.nsf?OpenDatabase

For more information about the report, contact HPTS by phone at (202) 624-3567 or email at info@hpts.org
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February 25, 2002
CDC PUBLISHES NOTICE TO READERS ON EVALUATION OF ANTHRAX VACCINATION OF PREGNANT WOMEN

On February 15, 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published "Notice to  Readers: Status of U.S. Department of Defense Preliminary Evaluation of the Association of Anthrax Vaccination and Congenital Anomalies" in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

The second paragraph of the two-paragraph Notice to Readers reads in part as follows:

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Although the Food and Drug Administration-licensed vaccine has not been suspected to be a hazard to reproductive health, . . . the vaccine is neither recommended nor licensed for use during pregnancy. DoD [U.S. Department of Defense] continues to maintain a policy of avoiding anthrax vaccination of pregnant women. . . . [B]oth military and civilian health-care providers should continue to ask women if they are pregnant or intend to become pregnant and should not vaccinate women who state that they are pregnant.

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To obtain the complete text of the Notice online, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5106a5.htm

To obtain a camera-ready (PDF format) copy of the February 15 issue of MMWR, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/wk/mm5106.pdf

 

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 25, 2002