Immunization Action Coalition and the Hepatitis B Coalition

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Issue Number 400            July 21, 2003

CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE

  1. Reminder to providers: Medicare administration reimbursement rates for influenza and pneumococcal vaccination have almost doubled
  2. Mark your calendar: August 21 is the date for CDC's satellite broadcast "Immunization Update 2003"
  3. CHOP makes "Vaccines: Separating Fact From Fear" video available in Spanish
  4. Adult Immunization Schedule now available in Spanish
  5. CDC announces initiative to raise awareness of the importance of early autism screening and intervention
  6. GAVI's most recent quarterly newsletter available online
  7. IAC adds "Dialysis, Viral Hepatitis, and Immunization" page to its website
  8. WHO letter reports on Islamic legal scholars' verdict on the medicinal use of gelatin derived from pork products
  9. North Carolina Immunization Conference set for October 1-3 in Greensboro

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July 21, 2003
REMINDER TO PROVIDERS: MEDICARE ADMINISTRATION REIMBURSEMENT RATES FOR INFLUENZA AND PNEUMOCOCCAL VACCINATION HAVE ALMOST DOUBLED

On July 10, four leading medical organizations issued a press release reminding health care providers about the significant increase in the payment for administering influenza and pneumococcal vaccines to Medicare recipients.

This year's reimbursement rates average 94 percent higher than last year's. The increase pertains only to reimbursement for the cost of vaccine administration, not to reimbursement for the cost of the vaccine. The payment rate for influenza vaccine has not yet been determined and will probably not be available until early fall.

Portions of the press release are reprinted below.

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Bethesda, MD
July 10, 2003

MANY PROVIDERS UNAWARE OF NEW INCREASED MEDICARE ADMINISTRATION FEES FOR INFLUENZA AND PNEUMOCOCCAL VACCINATION

Four of the nation's leading medical organizations today issued an urgent reminder to physicians and other health care providers about the new significant increase in this year's Medicare and Medicaid payment  rates for the administration of influenza and pneumococcal vaccines.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and American Medical Association (AMA) joined the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) to ensure health care professionals are aware of the 94% average increase in payment rate for influenza and pneumococcal vaccine administration. Providers are also entitled to separate payments for the cost of the vaccines.

The national average fee paid by Medicare for administering the flu vaccine went up to $7.72 on March 1, compared to a national average of $3.98 for the previous year. Actual amounts vary geographically.

In May, the CDC and AMA held the third annual National Influenza Vaccine Summit in Chicago. During this meeting, it became clear that relatively few physicians and other vaccine providers were aware of the new, higher payment rate for vaccine administration and that it would be necessary to conduct an educational campaign to reach healthcare providers with this information.

Providing flu and pneumococcal vaccinations to the nation's most vulnerable population is good medicine, said CMS Administrator Tom Scully. "We hope that physicians will provide these vaccines to more beneficiaries."

AMA Trustee, Ronald M. Davis, MD, said an increase in the payment rate for vaccine administration is excellent news for physicians because, in the past, they only received about four dollars for each influenza vaccine administered. "Almost doubling the allowance for vaccine administration more appropriately reflects  the costs, both in terms of manpower and supplies, needed to administer influenza immunizations," said Dr. Davis.

"CDC, along with its partner organizations, recognizes the pivotal role physicians and other healthcare providers play in encouraging patients to get their annual influenza vaccine," says Walter Orenstein, MD, Director, National Immunization Program, CDC. "The additional incentive of an increased payment rate for vaccine administration is an important development that will help physicians make influenza vaccination a priority when talking to their patients about preventing influenza."

Influenza vaccine supply is based, in part, on demand. "We encourage health care providers to order influenza vaccine now," said William J. Martone, MD, Senior Executive Director, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID).

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To access the press release from the NFID website, go to:
http://www.nfid.org/docs/immunizations0703.html

To access a camera-ready (PDF) copy of the new influenza and pneumococcal vaccine administration rate  allowances from the website of the Immunization Action Coalition, go to:
http://www.immunize.org/influenza/allowances.pdf

For more information, go to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website at
http://cms.hhs.gov/preventiveservices/2.asp
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July 21, 2003
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: AUGUST 21 IS THE DATE FOR CDC'S SATELLITE BROADCAST "IMMUNIZATION UPDATE 2003"

The live satellite broadcast and webcast "Immunization Update 2003" will provide up-to-date information on the ever-changing field of immunization. Following are the anticipated topics: influenza vaccine, including recommendations for the use of the new live attenuated intranasal vaccine; pneumococcal conjugate vaccine; hepatitis B vaccine; recommendations for the use of new pediatric combination vaccines; an update on the smallpox vaccination program, including recommendations for the use of smallpox vaccine for  the prevention of monkeypox; and an update on global polio eradication.

Sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the live broadcast is scheduled for August 21 from 9 am to 11:30 am EDT. It will be rebroadcast later in the day from noon to 2:30 pm EDT.  Both broadcasts will feature a Q&A session in which participants nationwide can interact with the course instructors via toll-free telephone lines.

The course instructors are William L. Atkinson, MD, MPH, medical epidemiologist, and Donna L. Weaver, RN, MN, nurse educator. Both are with the CDC's National Immunization Program. For information about program content, email nipinfo@cdc.gov

The program's intended audience includes physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, Department of Defense paraprofessionals, pharmacists, and others who either administer immunizations or  set policy for their offices, clinics, or communicable disease or infection control programs.

To register and receive continuing education credits, you must register online on the Public Health Training Network website at http://www.phppo.cdc.gov/phtnonline

For registration information, call (800) 418-7246 or email ce@cdc.gov

The program will have a live webcast at
http://www.phppo.cdc.gov/phtn/webcast/imm-up2003

For technical support and to prepare for the webcast ahead of time, go to:
http://www.phppo.cdc.gov/phtn/webcast/techsupport.asp
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July 21, 2003
CHOP MAKES "VACCINES: SEPARATING FACT FROM FEAR" VIDEO AVAILABLE IN SPANISH

The 27-minute video "Vaccines: Separating Fact From Fear" is now available in Spanish from the Vaccine Education Center of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). The English version is still available and can be ordered the same way as the Spanish version (see below).

The video answers questions many parents have about vaccines and provides an extensive network of responsible websites. Questions include the following: How can parents sort good information from bad on the Internet? Why are there so many more vaccines today? Do children receive too many shots? Are vaccines still necessary? Are vaccines safe? The video also includes the stories of several parents whose children suffered vaccine-preventable diseases.

To view the English version online, go to the CHOP home page at http://vaccine.chop.edu Scroll down and click on the text box under the third image in the right column. You will be taken to a pop-up menu; click on the modem speed you use, and you will be taken to the video. The online video is divided into nine  questions; click on the question you want an answer to. You must download the latest Flash plug-in ahead of time.

Health professionals can receive two copies of the video free of charge for each practice site. For quantities beyond two, health professionals are charged $5 for each additional video, plus shipping and handling.

The charge for parents is $5 for each copy of the video, plus $5 shipping and handling for one or two copies.

Health professionals can order on the Internet by going to http://vaccine.chop.edu/order_hc_profs.shtml and clicking on "form."

Parents can order on the Internet by going to http://vaccine.chop.edu/order_parents.shtml and clicking on "form."

Health professionals and parents can also order in other ways:

  1. Email your request to vaccines@email.chop.edu
  2. Fax the order form to (215) 590-2025
  3. Call (215) 590-9990

Health professionals should include the following information for each practice site: name, name of  practice, street address, city, state, zip code, telephone number, email address, and quantities ordered.

Parents should include the following information: name, street address, city, state, zip code, email address,  and quantities ordered. Payment options include checks and money orders made payable to the Vaccine Education Center.
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July 21, 2003
ADULT IMMUNIZATION SCHEDULE NOW AVAILABLE IN SPANISH

On June 20, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Immunization Program posted the Spanish-language version of the "Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule, United States, 2002-2003" on its website. The information in the schedule is dated October 2002, making it consistent with the information in the English-language schedule.

To access a camera-ready (PDF) version of the 4-page Spanish-language schedule, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/nip/recs/adult-schedule-sp.pdf

To access an English-language version, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/nip/recs/adult-schedule.pdf
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July 21, 2003
CDC ANNOUNCES INITIATIVE TO RAISE AWARENESS OF THE IMPORTANCE OF EARLY AUTISM SCREENING AND INTERVENTION

On July 18, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Autism Society of America announced they are launching a joint initiative to educate parents and others about the importance of early  screening and intervention for autism. The goal is to encourage parents of a child with developmental delays, particularly in communication and social interaction, to seek help for their child, even before a clinical diagnosis of autism has been made. Early intervention can enhance a child's potential for leading a full, productive life.

To access the complete press release from the CDC website, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/pressrel/r030718.htm
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July 21, 2003
GAVI'S MOST RECENT QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER AVAILABLE ONLINE

The July 2003 issue of "Immunization Focus," the quarterly electronic newsletter published by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), is now available on the GAVI website.

An invaluable source of information on global vaccine topics, the newsletter provides updates and topical debate about key immunization issues. Two of the current issue's articles--"Spending is up, but the Finance Gap is Unfilled" and "The Vaccine Fund's Challenge"--discuss the critical need to raise additional funds to deliver sustained improvements in immunization. The other articles are "Vaccine Vial Monitors: Is the Waiting Almost Over?" and "In the Hot Seat: The View from the Health Ministry."

To access a camera-ready (PDF) version of the July issue, go to:
http://www.vaccinealliance.org/home/Resources_Documents/Immunization_Focus/Current_Issue/contents.php

To subscribe to the newsletter, email GAVI at majordomo@who.int and type "subscribe gavi" in the first line of your message

To access the GAVI website, go to: http://www.vaccinealliance.org

For additional information, email gavi@unicef.org
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July 21, 2003
IAC ADDS "DIALYSIS, VIRAL HEPATITIS, AND IMMUNIZATION" PAGE TO ITS WEBSITE

The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) recently compiled journal articles, recommendations, and other resources regarding viral hepatitis infection among dialysis patients. Journal articles make up the majority of the new "Dialysis, Viral Hepatitis, and Immunization" web page. The recommendations section of the new page includes articles published in the "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report," and the resources section directs providers and patients to pertinent websites and publications.

The dialysis web page is located under Topics of Interest in the right column of the IAC home page. To access the new web page, go to: http://www.immunize.org/dialysis
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July 21, 2003
WHO LETTER REPORTS ON ISLAMIC LEGAL SCHOLARS' VERDICT ON THE MEDICINAL USE OF GELATIN DERIVED FROM PORK PRODUCTS

A letter written in July 2001 by the Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the Eastern Mediterranean reported on the findings of more than one hundred Islamic legal scholars who met to clarify Islamic purity laws. The scholars met in 1995 at a seminar convened by the Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences on the topic "The Judicially Prohibited and Impure Substances in  Foodstuff and Drugs." The topic is of interest to the immunization community because some vaccines contain pork gelatin. In Islamic law, pork and pork products are impure, and observant Muslims do not consume them.

Quoting from a statement issued by the scholars, the letter states the following: "The seminar issued a number of recommendations, included in the attached statement, stipulating. . . that 'Transformation which means the conversion of a substance into another substance, different in characteristics, changes substances that are judicially impure . . . into pure substances, and changes substances that are prohibited into lawful and permissible substances'."

Consequently, the scholars determined that the transformation of pork products into gelatin alters them sufficiently to make it permissible for observant Muslims to receive vaccines containing pork gelatin and to take medicine packaged in gelatin capsules.

The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) has posted English and Arabic versions of the WHO letter and the seminar statement in two places on the IAC websites. (1) To find it from the home page of the main website (www.immunize.org), scroll down the right column to "Topics of Interest" and click on "Responding to Concerns About Vaccines." Once there, scroll down to and click on "Religious and  Ethical Concerns about Vaccination" and click on "The Judicially Prohibited and Impure Substances in Foodstuff and Drugs." (2) To find it from the home page of the public website (www.vaccineinformation.org), scroll to and click on "Concerned about vaccines?" Once there, scroll down to "Religious/ethical issues and immunization" and click on "The Judicially Prohibited and Impure Substances in Foodstuff and Drugs."

To directly access the WHO letter and the seminar statement, go to: http://www.immunize.org/concerns/porcine.pdf
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July 21, 2003
NORTH CAROLINA IMMUNIZATION CONFERENCE SET FOR OCTOBER 1-3 IN GREENSBORO

The 2003 North Carolina Immunization Conference will be held October 1-3 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. Intended to provide support for the state's immunization providers, the conference will feature presentations by Samuel L. Katz, MD, Chairman Emeritus of Pediatrics, Duke University Medical Center, and Paul A. Offit, MD, Director, Vaccine Education Center, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Conference topics include adult immunization, outreach and networking, varicella surveillance, hepatitis, legal issues/exemptions, and more.

For additional information, including the conference agenda and bulletin and online registration, go to the conference website at http://www.immunizenc.com/03ImmConference.htm

Further information is available by calling Andrea Held at (919) 715-6763.

 

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 July 21, 2003