Immunization Action Coalition and the Hepatitis B Coalition

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Issue Number 345            October 28, 2002

CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE

  1. All at IAC mourn the loss of Senator Paul Wellstone and his wife, Sheila Wellstone
  2. IAC launches a new website tailor-made for parents, patients, and the media!
  3. Maine adds varicella vaccination to its list of required immunizations
  4. IAC puts easy-to-read version of CDC's Recommended Adult Immunization Schedules on its website
  5. FDA approves preservative-free formulation of pediatric Fluzone influenza virus vaccine
  6. CDC promotes use of federal government's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System
  7. Updated! CDC's redesigned IDU/HIV Prevention website includes new "Viral Hepatitis" fact sheet series
  8. MMWR notifies readers about 25th anniversary of the last case of naturally acquired smallpox
  9. MMWR publishes report on U.S. influenza surveillance data collected from October 1997 through September 2000
  10. Institute of Medicine releases report on SV40-contaminated polio vaccine and cancer
  11. New! Asia Pacific Vaccination Council announces launch of VacciNews website

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October 28, 2002
All AT IAC MOURN THE LOSS OF SENATOR PAUL WELLSTONE AND HIS WIFE, SHEILA WELLSTONE

With the deaths of Paul and Sheila Wellstone in a plane crash on October 25, advocates for social justice everywhere, including those of us in the health care community, lost two caring and committed friends.

Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN) was a passionate and compassionate advocate for the health and well-being of all people, particularly those without a voice in politics. As committed as her husband, Sheila Wellstone championed the cause of battered women, working to ensure passage of laws to aid them and their children.

We at the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) extend our deepest sympathy to the Wellstone family and the families of the six others who died with Paul and Sheila.
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October 28, 2002
IAC LAUNCHES A NEW WEBSITE TAILOR-MADE FOR PARENTS, PATIENTS, AND THE MEDIA!

After spending months collecting and developing the best information about vaccine issues for parents, patients, and members of the news media, site developer Teresa Anderson, DDS, MPH, consultant to  the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC), is pleased to announce the launch of IAC's newest website, "Vaccine Information for the Public."

The site presents information about each vaccine-preventable disease (VPD) and its vaccine(s), along with photos, case histories, recommendations, journal articles, and resources for patients and health professionals.

Of special interest are the expanded selection of VPD photographs and a new section of video clips, which can be viewed or downloaded from the site.

The video footage features former First Lady Rosalynn Carter recounting her daughter's six-week  ordeal with chickenpox as a college student. Dr. Barbara Watson of the Philadelphia Department of Health, talks about her 3-year-old sister's chickenpox complications, which included encephalitis and a three-month coma. We hope these powerful video and audio images will help bring home to parents the reality of VPDs and the importance of vaccination.

Other sections of the new website include "Vaccine Safety Information," "The Importance of Vaccines," "Statistics on Immunization Coverage and Disease Incidence," "State Immunization Laws and Mandates," "Topics of Special Interest," and more.

This website is exclusively supported by Cooperative Agreement No. U50/CCU518789 from the National Immunization Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are  solely the responsibility of IAC and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC.

To visit this new website, go to: http://www.vaccineinformation.org The site is still under development, so check back frequently for new information.

To visit the special page of video clips, go to: http://www.vaccineinformation.org/video/

If you know of other resources that should be included as part of this site, or have ideas for other topics to include, contact IAC by email at evaluation@immunize.org
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October 28, 2002
MAINE ADDS VARICELLA VACCINATION TO ITS LIST OF REQUIRED IMMUNIZATIONS

Earlier this year, Maine's governor, Angus King, signed a bill that added varicella to the list of  immunizations required of children entering school. This brings the number of states mandating childhood varicella vaccination to 36.

Effective this November, Maine will require varicella vaccination for children entering daycare. At the start of school year 2003, kindergarten and first-grade students entering elementary school will have to show proof of varicella vaccination or immunity. After the 2003 school year, students will be required to show proof incrementally by grade. By the start of school year 2007, all students from kindergarten through twelfth grade will have to show proof of vaccination or immunity.

To view the table of state varicella prevention mandates and their implementation dates, go to the website of the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC): http://www.immunize.org/laws/varicel.htm

For other state vaccination laws for school entry, visit the IAC's web page "State Mandates on Immunization and Vaccine-Preventable Disease" at http://www.immunize.org/laws/

We depend on our readers to help us stay informed and to ensure this is the most accurate and current information available. Please let us know when any changes occur in your state by emailing IAC at admin@immunize.org or calling (651) 647-9009.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new "State Immunization Requirements 2000-2001" will be posted on IAC's website soon. Look for an announcement in an upcoming issue of "IAC EXPRESS."
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October 28, 2002
IAC PUTS EASY-TO-READ VERSION OF CDC'S RECOMMENDED ADULT IMMUNIZATION SCHEDULES ON ITS WEBSITE

The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) recently created an easy-to-read, four-page version of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's two new adult immunization schedules--"Recommended  Adult Immunization Schedule, United States, 2002-2003" and "Recommended Immunizations for Adults with Medical Conditions, United States, 2002-2003."

The four-page document can be printed in color or black and white on 8-1/2" x 11" paper. To access the document, go to the IAC's website at http://www.immunize.org/cdc/schd85x11.pdf

A two-page version that can be printed in color or black and white on 8-1/2" x 11" or 11" x 17" paper can be accessed at http://www.cdc.gov/nip/recs/adult-schedule.pdf
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October 28, 2002
FDA APPROVES PRESERVATIVE-FREE FORMULATION OF PEDIATRIC FLUZONE INFLUENZA VIRUS VACCINE

On September 4, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a supplement to the biologics licensure application for the influenza virus vaccine Fluzone, manufactured by Aventis Pasteur, to include a preservative-free formulation.

Intended for infants age six to 35 months, the vaccine will be available in limited quantity for shipment in early to mid-November.

To view the product approval letter, go to: http://www.fda.gov/cber/approvltr/inflave090402L.htm
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October 28, 2002
CDC PROMOTES USE OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S VACCINE ADVERSE EVENT REPORTING SYSTEM

In an article in the October 2002 issue of its electronic newsletter "Immunization Works," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explained the federal government's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and encouraged health professionals to use it to report adverse events, even if they are not sure a vaccine caused the event. The text of the article follows:

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Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System: The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is one cornerstone in the Federal Government's vaccine safety monitoring program. It provides a central registry where providers can inform CDC and FDA about adverse events that individuals may experience following immunizations. CDC and FDA conduct analyses of VAERS data to identify potential new vaccine safety concerns. These findings may contribute in turn to improving knowledge of immunization risks and benefits, identifying opportunities to revise precautions and contraindications and the development of ever safer vaccines.

CDC and FDA encourage providers to report to VAERS, even if it is not certain that a vaccine caused the event. The VAERS website, www.vaers.org, provides a number of resources to assist with reporting.

  1. The Table of Reportable Events provides a list of vaccines and adverse events for which the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 mandates a report. Information required includes  date of administration of the vaccine, vaccine manufacturer, the lot number of the vaccine, and the name and contact information of the reporter. Details about the vaccination should be  available from required vaccination records.
     
  2. The VAERS Reporting Form may be downloaded and printed for mail or fax submission.
     
  3. A secure web-link is available to report an adverse event online.
     
  4. Vaccine Safety Post-marketing Surveillance: The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, a  free CDC online continuing medical education program (#SS3092), provides further information on VAERS.
     
  5. Link to information on other important roles providers play in vaccine safety.

For additional information or assistance on vaccine adverse event reporting, please contact the VAERS program at info@vaers.org by calling (800) 822-7967, or by faxing your request to (877) 721-0366.
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October 28, 2002
UPDATED! CDC'S REDESIGNED IDU/HIV PREVENTION WEBSITE INCLUDES NEW "VIRAL HEPATITIS" FACT SHEET SERIES

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently redesigned its Intravenous Drug Users/Human Immunodeficiency Virus (IDU/HIV) Prevention website. The site contains a wealth of information on the role injection drug use plays in the transmission of blood-borne infections, particularly HIV and hepatitis B and C. To access the site, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/idu/

Part of the redesign included adding a new fact sheet series, "Viral Hepatitis," comprising five fact sheets. To view the new series in its entirety, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/idu/hepatitis/

Following is information for accessing a camera-ready (PDF) version of each fact sheet separately.

  1. For "Viral Hepatitis and Injection Drug Users," go to:
    http://www.cdc.gov/idu/hepatitis/viral_hep_drug_use.pdf
      
  2. For "Medical Management of Chronic Hepatitis B and Chronic Hepatitis C," go to:
    http://www.cdc.gov/idu/hepatitis/manage_chronich_hep_b-c.pdf
     
  3. For "Vaccines to Prevent Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B," go to:
    http://www.cdc.gov/idu/hepatitis/vaccines.pdf
     
  4. For "Hepatitis C Virus and HIV Coinfection," go to:
    http://www.cdc.gov/idu/hepatitis/hepc_and_hiv_co.pdf
     
  5. For "Viral Hepatitis and the Criminal Justice System," go to:
    http://www.cdc.gov/idu/hepatitis/viralhep_crimhal_just.pdf

For up to 10 free copies of the series, send an email to Georgia Fontana at gfontana@cdc.gov, or fax her at (404) 639-5260. Include your mailing address and the number of copies you want; copies will be mailed within several weeks.

The site also has three other series of fact sheets: "Substance Abuse Treatment," "Criminal Justice," and "Access to Sterile Syringes." To access them, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/idu/facts/
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October 28, 2002
MMWR NOTIFIES READERS ABOUT 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE LAST CASE OF NATURALLY ACQUIRED SMALLPOX

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a Notice to Readers titled "25th Anniversary of the Last Case of Naturally Acquired Smallpox" in the October 25, 2002, issue of  Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

The article discusses the eradication of the disease, globally and in the United States, and briefly outlines the preparedness plan the U.S. public health system is developing against the potential use of smallpox (variola) virus as a bioterrorism agent.

The entire article, excepting the two footnoted references, reads as follows:

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On October 26, 1977, the last case of naturally acquired smallpox occurred in the Merca District of Somalia. In May 1980, the World Health Assembly certified the world free of naturally occurring  smallpox. The eradication of a disease was an unprecedented accomplishment. Eradication efforts for both paralytic poliomyelitis and dracunculiasis (i.e., guinea worm disease) are ongoing. Beyond the benefit to the world population's health and economy, smallpox eradication demonstrated the benefits of international commitment and cooperation toward a common cause in public health. Improvements  made in international vaccination programs, global disease surveillance, and public health logistics systems that were results of the smallpox eradication program continue today.

Although smallpox was eradicated in 1977, the risk for importation of disease into the United States had greatly decreased before that time. As a result, the United States discontinued routine smallpox vaccinations for the general population in 1971, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended against routine vaccination of health-care workers in 1976. The last case of smallpox in the United States occurred in 1949. An MMWR report in 1997 commemorating the 20th anniversary of the eradication of smallpox noted that smallpox vaccine and its eradication of smallpox disease were on the list of things that need be done only once in the history of the world.

The U.S. public health system is preparing for the potential use of smallpox (variola) virus as a bioterrorism agent. Although preparedness efforts have been ongoing since at least 1999 and a strategic plan for preparedness and response against biologic and chemical terrorism was published in  April 2000, the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, prompted extensive review of policies and procedures about potential acts of bioterrorism, especially the intentional release of smallpox virus. To enhance preparedness, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has contracted for production of enough smallpox vaccine for the entire U.S. population if vaccination becomes necessary, developed a plan for responding to a smallpox attack (http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/smallpox/response-plan/index.asp), and is reviewing whether increased vaccination before an attack is warranted and how such a vaccination program would be implemented. A final U.S. policy on smallpox vaccination is pending. Additional information on smallpox is available at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/smallpox/index.asp.
 
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To obtain the complete text of the article online, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5142a5.htm

To obtain a camera-ready (PDF format) copy of this issue of MMWR, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/wk/mm5142.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 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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October 28, 2002
MMWR PUBLISHES REPORT ON U.S. INFLUENZA SURVEILLANCE DATA COLLECTED FROM OCTOBER 1997 THROUGH SEPTEMBER 2000

On October 25, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a Surveillance Summary titled "Surveillance for Influenza--United  States, 1997-98, 1998-99, and 1999-00 Seasons."

In summing up U.S. influenza surveillance data collected from October 1997 through September 2000, the report states that influenza epidemics occur in the United States nearly every winter and are  responsible for an average of approximately 114,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths a year.

The Interpretation section of the abstract states the following:

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Influenza A(H1N1), A(H3N2), and B viruses circulated during 1997-2000, but influenza A(H3N2) was the most frequently reported virus type/subtype during all three seasons. Influenza A(H3N2) is the virus type/subtype most frequently associated with excess P&I [pneumonia and influenza] mortality. Influenza activity during all three seasons occurred at moderate to severe levels, and excess P&I mortality was reported during 10 or more weeks each year."

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To view the complete text of the report online, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5107a1.htm

For a camera-ready (PDF) copy, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/ss/ss5107.pdf
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October 28, 2002
INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE RELEASES REPORT ON SV40-CONTAMINATED POLIO VACCINE AND CANCER

On October 22, the Immunization Safety Review Committee of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies released its report "SV40 Contamination of Polio Vaccine and Cancer."

The first two paragraphs of the National Academies' press release stated the following:

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Scientific evidence is insufficient to prove or disprove the theory that exposure to polio vaccine contaminated with a monkey virus between 1955 and 1963 has triggered cancer in humans, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

The vast majority of population studies, which carry the most weight in establishing causal relationships, have found no increased rates of cancer in people who received the vaccine contaminated with simian virus-40 (SV40). However, a possible link cannot be completely ruled out because of limitations in the available data and in the way the studies were conducted.

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To view the full press release, go to:
http://www4.nationalacademies.org/news.nsf/isbn/0309086108?OpenDocument

The final version of the report is not yet available. To pre-order copies electronically, go to:
http://books.nap.edu/contact.html

To pre-order by phone, call (888) 624-8373.
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October 28, 2002
NEW! ASIA-PACIFIC VACCINATION COUNCIL ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF VACCINEWS WEBSITE

The Asia-Pacific Vaccination Council (APVC) announced the launch of its VacciNews website on October 1. Intended for use by health professionals in the Asia-Pacific region and elsewhere in the world, the site has information on the following:

Worldwide immunization schedules
Diseases and available vaccines
Responses to concerns about vaccination
Vaccinator resources
APVC's newsletter
"Ask an Expert" interactive feature (under construction) and visitor feedback option

To access this new site, go to: http://www.vaccinews.com/

 

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 October 28, 2002