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Issue Number 380            April 21, 2003

CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE

  1. Paul Offit's editorial explains the power of the anecdote in influencing parents' immunization decisions
  2. Updated: New edition of "Plain Talk About Childhood Immunizations" now available online
  3. Revised: IAC corrects errors on two professional education sheets
  4. CDC clarifies measles information published in a footnote to the "Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule--United States, 2002-2003"
  5. Afghani polio immunization campaign set to vaccinate 6 million children
  6. CDC publishes an update of smallpox vaccine adverse events surveillance

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April 21, 2003
PAUL OFFIT'S EDITORIAL EXPLAINS THE POWER OF THE ANECDOTE IN INFLUENCING PARENTS' IMMUNIZATION DECISIONS

"The Power of 'Box A'," an editorial by Paul A. Offit, MD, explains how a single anecdote about a  possible vaccine reaction can overpower extensive scientific data, leading parents to question or even decline immunization for their children. Offit is chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, professor of pediatrics at the  University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

The editorial, published in the February issue of "Expert Review of Vaccines," suggests that many people rely on the mass media and Internet for information about vaccine safety. The media and Internet are unlikely to carry accounts about vaccine safety studies or about how well the vaccine system protects children and society against disease.

The Immunization Action Coalition is grateful to "Expert Review of Vaccines" for giving us permission to post the article on our website. To access a camera-ready (PDF) version of the article, go to: http://www.immunize.org/safety/boxa.pdf
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April 21, 2003
UPDATED: NEW EDITION OF "PLAIN TALK ABOUT CHILDHOOD IMMUNIZATIONS" NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE

Published in 2002, the fifth edition of "Plain Talk About Childhood Immunizations" is intended to answer  parents' most common questions about childhood immunization.

The 52-page booklet opens by explaining how vaccines work, presents facts about specific vaccines, and answers questions about vaccine-preventable diseases. A 5-page chart compares the risks of  developing serious complications from specific vaccine-preventable diseases with the risks of developing a serious reaction to specific immunizations. The booklet concludes with tips on evaluating  immunization information on the Internet, accounts of people who have contracted vaccine-preventable diseases, and five pages of print and electronic immunization resources.

Developed by Public Health--Seattle & King County, Snohomish Health District, and the Washington State Department of Health, the booklet is available to Washington state residents, who can order a free copy by calling (800) 322-2588.

Nonresidents can access the booklet in two ways from the website of Public Health--Seattle & King County:

To access the complete booklet in camera-ready (PDF) format go to: http://www.metrokc.gov/health/immunization/plaintalk2002.pdf

To access chapters of the booklet in HTML format, go to:
http://www.metrokc.gov/health/immunization/childimmunity.htm
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April 21, 2003
REVISED: IAC CORRECTS ERRORS ON TWO PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION SHEETS

The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) made errors on two professional education sheets announced in the March 17 issue of "IAC EXPRESS." The titles are "Don't Be Guilty of These Errors in Vaccine Storage and Handling" and "Vaccines and Related Products Distributed in the United States, 2003." If you printed either or both of these sheets, please discard your printed copies and print new ones from the URLs below.

In "Don't Be Guilty of These Errors in Vaccine Storage and Handling," the information in Error #6 originally read, "The temperature in these areas will be higher than the temperature in the body of the refrigerator." It has been changed to "The temperature in these areas may differ significantly from the temperature in the body of the refrigerator." The date of the corrected version is 4/03.

To access a camera-ready (PDF) copy of the corrected version from the IAC website, go to:
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p3036.pdf

To access an HTML copy, go to:
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p3036.htm


In "Vaccines and Related Products Distributed in the United States, 2003," the fifth entry in the column "Vaccine/Biologic" originally read, "Diphtheria, Tetanus, acellular Pertussis + Hib + IPV." It has been changed to "Diphtheria, Tetanus, acellular Pertussis + Hep B + IPV." The date of the corrected version is 4/03.

To access a camera-ready (PDF) copy of the corrected version, go to: http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/2019prod.pdf

To access an HTML copy, go to:
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/2019prod.htm

We apologize for any inconvenience the errors may have caused "IAC EXPRESS" readers.
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April 21, 2003
CDC CLARIFIES MEASLES INFORMATION PUBLISHED IN A FOOTNOTE TO THE "RECOMMENDED ADULT IMMUNIZATION SCHEDULE--UNITED STATES, 2002-2003"

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published "Clarification: Vol. 51, No. 40" in the April 18 issue of the "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report" (MMWR). The clarification corrects a  footnote in the "Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule--United States, 2002-2003." The footnote gave the impression that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that adults born after 1956 without a history of measles vaccination should receive two doses of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine. The clarification is reprinted below in its entirety.

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In the Notice to Readers, "Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule--United States, 2002-2003," the eighth footnote in Figure 1 incorrectly implied that the Advisory Committee on Immunization  Practices recommended that adults born after 1956 and without a history of measles vaccination should receive 2 doses of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine. Adults born in or after 1957 should  receive at least 1 dose of MMR unless they have a medical contraindication, documentation of at least 1 dose of MMR or other live measles vaccine, or other acceptable evidence of immunity. A  second dose of MMR is recommended for adults who 1) were recently exposed to measles in an outbreak setting, 2) were previously vaccinated with killed measles virus vaccine, 3) were vaccinated with an unknown vaccine during 1963-1967, 4) are students in post-secondary educational institutions, 5) work in health-care facilities, and/or 6) plan to travel internationally.

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To obtain a camera-ready (PDF) copy of the clarified "Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule--United States, 2002-2003" from the National Immunization Program website, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/nip/recs/adult-schedule.pdf

To obtain an HTML copy of it, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/nip/recs/adult-schedule-508.htm

To obtain the complete text of the MMWR clarification online, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5215a7.htm

To obtain a camera-ready (PDF format) copy of this issue of MMWR, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/wk/mm5215.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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April 21, 2003
AFGHANI POLIO IMMUNIZATION CAMPAIGN SET TO VACCINATE 6 MILLION CHILDREN

On April 13, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) issued a press release announcing a nationwide polio immunization campaign April 13-15 in Afghanistan. The goal is to immunize at least 6 million children, from newborns to 5 year olds, with oral polio vaccine. At the same time, Vitamin A will be administered to children age 6 months to 5 years.

Led by the Ministry of Health with the support of UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), this is the first polio immunization campaign in the nation this year. In recent years, Afghani health authorities have made significant strides toward interrupting the poliovirus: In 1999, Afghanistan reported 150 polio cases; only 10 cases were reported last year.

Afghanistan is one of the last ten countries where polio remains endemic; the southern region is the last remaining indigenous focus of polio transmission in the country. The Ministry of Health, UNICEF, WHO, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe that virus transmission can be interrupted in the southern region for the first time this year, ridding the nation of the disease.

To access the press release from the UNICEF website, go to:
http://www.unicef.org/newsline/2003/03nn25afghanistan.htm
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April 21, 2003
CDC PUBLISHES AN UPDATE OF SMALLPOX VACCINE ADVERSE EVENTS SURVEILLANCE

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published "Update: Adverse Events Following Civilian Smallpox Vaccination--United States, 2003" in the April 18 issue of the "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report" (MMWR). It includes reports on three new cases of myopericarditis. Excerpts from the article are reprinted below.

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During January 24-April 13, 2003, smallpox vaccine was administered to 32,644 civilian health-care and public health workers in 54 jurisdictions as part of an effort to prepare the United States for a possible terrorist attack using smallpox virus. This report updates information on all vaccine-associated adverse events among civilians vaccinated since the beginning of the vaccination program and among contacts of vaccinees, received by CDC from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) as of April 13. . . .

As of April 13, a total of 10 cases of myopericarditis have been reported; three are new reports received during April 5-13. During the same period, one new case of generalized vaccinia and seven new cases of inadvertent inoculation (nonocular) were reported. During the vaccination program, no cases of eczema vaccinatum, erythema multiforme major, fetal vaccinia, postvaccinial encephalitis or encephalomyelitis, progressive vaccinia, or pyogenic infection of the vaccination site have been reported.

During April 5-13, eight other serious adverse events were reported. Discharge diagnoses for these events were atypical chest pain (n = six), hypertension (n = one), and pneumonia (n = one). . . .

During this reporting period, no vaccinia immune globulin was released for civilian vaccinees. No cases of vaccine transmission from civilian vaccinees to their contacts have been reported during the vaccination program. Thirteen cases of transmission from military personnel to civilian contacts have been reported.

Surveillance for adverse events during the civilian and military smallpox vaccination programs is ongoing; regular surveillance reports will be published in MMWR.

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To obtain the complete text of the article online, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5215a5.htm

To obtain a camera-ready (PDF format) copy of this issue of MMWR, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/wk/mm5215.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 April 21, 2003