Immunization Action Coalition and the Hepatitis B Coalition

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Issue Number 521            April 18, 2005

CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE

  1. Official CDC Health Advisory recommends destroying sample panels of influenza A/H2N2
  2. MMWR notifies readers that April 24-30 is National Infant Immunization Week
  3. May is National Hepatitis Awareness Month
  4. Maurice R. Hilleman, giant in vaccine development, dies at age 85
  5. New: Trivalent influenza vaccines to be covered by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program starting July 1
  6. New: CDC seeks comment on its Research Agenda through April 19
  7. New: CHOP's Vaccine Education Center launches Parents PACK, an online vaccine-information resource
  8. IAC reorganizes and updates its online Directory of Immunization Resources
  9. IAC updates multiple print pieces related to viral hepatitis
  10. New: April 15 issue of IAC's Hep Express electronic newsletter now available online
  11. New: NIP website posts recordings of NIC presentations, reminds attendees that April 25 is deadline for CE credit
  12. Providers: Power of 10 campaign makes it easy to educate your patients about the importance of getting a Td booster

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ABBREVIATIONS: AAFP, American Academy of Family Physicians; AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics; ACIP, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices; CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; FDA, Food and Drug Administration; IAC, Immunization Action Coalition; MMWR, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report; NIP, National Immunization Program; VIS, Vaccine Information Statement; VPD, vaccine-preventable disease; WHO, World Health Organization.
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April 18, 2005
OFFICIAL CDC HEALTH ADVISORY RECOMMENDS DESTROYING SAMPLE PANELS OF INFLUENZA A/H2N2

On April 13, CDC issued an official CDC Health Advisory by way of the Health Alert Network (HAN). The advisory urges laboratories that received influenza A/H2N2 samples to destroy them immediately. The advisory is reprinted below in its entirety.

Also on April 13, CDC Director, Dr. Julie Gerberding, took questions from the press at a telebriefing. A link to the telebriefing transcript is given at the end of this article.

In addition, on April 15, CDC issued three documents: (1) an official CDC Health Update outlining procedures for monitoring the health of laboratory workers and for destroying influenza A/H2N2 samples; (2) a page of links to resources concerning the influenza A/H2N2 situation; and (3) questions and answers about the influenza A/H2N2 panels. Links to all three are given at the end of this article.

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This is an official CDC Health Advisory

Distributed via the Health Alert Network
April 13, 2005, 20:35 EDT (08:35 PM EDT)


CDC AND WHO RECOMMEND THAT SAMPLE PANELS OF INFLUENZA A/H2N2 BE DESTROYED

CDC, HHS, and the World Health Organization are working with the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and other providers of proficiency-testing panels (see below) to ensure that influenza A/H2N2 samples sent to U.S. laboratories and laboratories in 17 other countries are destroyed immediately. Information sent with these proficiency-testing panels did not indicate that influenza A/H2N2 samples were included. The A/H2N2 samples sent out are similar to the A/H2N2 viruses that circulated in humans in 1957 at the beginning of the Asian influenza pandemic. Influenza A/H2N2 viruses continued to circulate widely in the human population until they disappeared upon the introduction of influenza A/H3N2 viruses during the 1968 Hong Kong influenza pandemic. Therefore, persons born after 1968 have no or only limited immunity against A/H2N2 strains. To date, no influenza A/H2N2 human cases among laboratory workers have been associated with distribution or handling of these proficiency-testing panels. However, because of the potential risk associated with this particular strain, laboratories have been advised to immediately autoclave or incinerate and treat as potentially infectious and hazardous all materials retained or derived from these panels.

CAP, the American Association of Bioanalysts, the American College of Family Physicians, and the American College of Physician Services all sent proficiency-testing surveys containing one or more samples of A/H2N2 to approximately 6,500 labs in the United States. Proficiency-testing panels containing A/H2N2 samples were also sent to laboratories in Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. The World Health Organization has informed the Ministries of Health in these countries.

Although there is low risk of infection of laboratory workers who use proper biosafety precautions, and historic data suggest that it is unlikely that a laboratory worker will have been infected, destruction of the samples is strongly recommended. Instructions for appropriate destruction of the A/H2N2 samples were distributed to the laboratories that received A/H2N2 samples.

CDC remains in close communication with WHO, as well as [with] the College of American Pathologists and other providers of proficiency-testing panels, about the identification and destruction of the H2N2 panels of concern and will provide additional information as it becomes available.

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To access the health advisory of 4/13/05 on the HAN web page, go to:
http://www.phppo.cdc.gov/HAN/ArchiveSys/ViewMsgV.asp?AlertNum=00227

To access the transcript of Dr. Julie Gerberding's press telebriefing of 4/13/05, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/transcripts/t050413.htm

To access the health update of 4/15/05 on the HAN web page, go to:
http://www.phppo.cdc.gov/HAN/ArchiveSys/ViewMsgV.asp?AlertNum=00228

To access the page of resources concerning the situation, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/h2n2situation.htm

To access a ready-to-print (PDF) version of the questions and answers, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/h2n2panelsqa.pdf

To access a web-text (HTML) version of the questions and answers, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/h2n2panelsqa.htm
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April 18, 2005
MMWR NOTIFIES READERS THAT APRIL 24-30 IS NATIONAL INFANT IMMUNIZATION WEEK

CDC published "Notice to Readers: National Infant Immunization Week--April 24-30, 2005" in the April 15 issue of MMWR. The notice is reprinted below in its entirety, excluding references.

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National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is April 24-30, 2005. The theme this year is "Vaccination: an Act of Love. Love Them. Protect Them. Immunize Them." This annual event emphasizes the importance of timely infant and childhood vaccination, one of the most effective ways to protect infants and children from potentially serious diseases.

Because of increased emphasis on vaccination, the majority of vaccine-preventable diseases have decreased in incidence by approximately 99% from peak prevaccine levels in the United States. In 2004, a total of 37 cases of measles, no cases of diphtheria, and no cases of wild poliovirus were reported in the United States. Approximately 11,000 infants are born each day in the United States; according to the recommended childhood immunization schedule, they require approximately 23 doses of vaccine before age 2 years to protect them from 12 vaccine-preventable diseases. Although vaccination coverage levels are high for children of preschool age, an estimated 27.5% of children aged 19-35 months were missing 1 or more recommended vaccine doses in 2003.

During NIIW, states and hundreds of communities throughout the United States will sponsor activities highlighting the need to achieve and maintain high childhood vaccination coverage rates. Special kick-off events, including provider education activities, media events, and immunization clinics are planned in Louisiana, New Mexico, and along the United States-Mexico border in collaboration with state and local health departments, the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). In addition, CDC and its partners will introduce a new public education campaign, including a 30-second public service announcement, posters, and print advertisements in English and Spanish. NIIW is being held in conjunction with Vaccination Week in the Americas, scheduled for April 23-30. That event, sponsored by PAHO, promotes childhood immunization and access to health services concurrently in all countries in the Western Hemisphere. Additional information about NIIW and childhood vaccination is available from CDC's National Immunization Program at http://www.cdc.gov/nip Information on Vaccination Week in the Americas is available at http://www.paho.org/english/dd/pin/pr050211.htm

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To access a web-text (HTML) version of the notice, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5414a5.htm

To access a ready-to-print (PDF) version of this issue of MMWR, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/wk/mm5414.pdf

To receive a FREE electronic subscription to MMWR (which includes new ACIP statements), go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/mmwrsubscribe.html
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April 18, 2005
MAY IS NATIONAL HEPATITIS AWARENESS MONTH

[The following is cross posted from IAC's Hep Express electronic newsletter, 4/15/05.]

May has been designated National Hepatitis Awareness Month, a time to educate the public, members of the media, elected officials, and healthcare professionals about viral hepatitis.

Beginning in May, visit the Division of Viral Hepatitis website at http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis to view information regarding activities planned for this occasion.
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April 18, 2005
MAURICE R. HILLEMAN, GIANT IN VACCINE DEVELOPMENT, DIES AT AGE 85

On April 11, Maurice R. Hilleman, PhD, DSc, died from cancer in Philadelphia. During his years at Merck & Co., he led teams that developed eight of the vaccines routinely recommended for childhood immunization in the United States. After his death, many newspapers and other media outlets reported on his life and achievements. Following is an excerpt from a press release posted on the website of Merck & Co.

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Dr. Hilleman joined Merck on New Year's Eve, 1957, as director of a new Department of Virus and Cell Biology research, and retired from Merck in 1984 as senior vice president. At the time of his death, Dr. Hilleman was Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. From 1948 to 1957, he was chief, Department of Respiratory Diseases, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC. In 1951, he was a visiting investigator at the Hospital of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. Dr. Hilleman received his D.Sc. degree from Montana State University in 1941, and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1944. He holds several honorary doctorate degrees from U.S. and foreign universities.

In his long career, Dr. Hilleman pioneered the development of numerous vaccines for disease including measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, Marek's Disease, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, adenoviruses, and the evolution of vaccines against meningitis and pneumonia. In addition to these contributions, Dr. Hilleman was also a co-discoverer of the adenoviruses, and discovered changes in the flu virus known as "drift." By monitoring these changes, public health agencies now track new flu viruses and create vaccines to prevent them.

Dr. Hilleman has been credited with developing more vaccines than any person and is recognized for having changed the face of the world in providing the means to prevent and control a number of its most important diseases. He published over 500 original articles in the fields of virology, immunology, epidemiology and infectious diseases.

He served on numerous national and international advisory boards and committees, academic, governmental and private. These include the National Institutes of Health's Office of AIDS Research Program Evaluation and the National Vaccine Advisory Committee of the National Vaccine Program. He was a member of the Expert Advisory Panel of the World Health Organization, Geneva, since 1952.

Dr. Hilleman was an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Science; the Institute of Medicine; the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and the American Philosophical Society. Dr. Hilleman received the National Medal of Science from President Ronald Reagan and the Prince Mahidol Award from the King of Thailand for the advancement of public health. He also received a special lifetime achievement award from the World Health Organization, the Lasker Medical Research Award and the Sabin Gold Medal and Lifetime Achievement Awards. Last month, The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), in collaboration with The Merck Company Foundation, announced the creation of The Maurice R. Hilleman Chair in Vaccinology.

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To access the complete press release, go to:
http://www.merck.com/newsroom/press_releases/corporate/2005_0411.html
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April 18, 2005
NEW: TRIVALENT INFLUENZA VACCINES TO BE COVERED BY THE NATIONAL VACCINE INJURY COMPENSATION PROGRAM STARTING JULY 1

Geoffrey Evans, MD, medical director, Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation, recently announced that trivalent influenza vaccines will be covered under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) as of July 1. Evans stated that there is NO age restriction on who may file a claim. Anyone receiving a VICP-covered vaccine may be eligible to file with the program depending on other legal requirements.

On April 12, the Federal Register published "National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program: Addition of Trivalent Influenza Vaccines to the Vaccine Injury Table." A portion is reprinted below.

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SUMMARY: Through this notice, the Secretary announces that trivalent influenza vaccines are covered vaccines under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), which provides a system of no-fault compensation for certain individuals who have been injured by covered childhood vaccines. This notice serves to include trivalent influenza vaccines as covered vaccines under Category XIV (new vaccines) of the Vaccine Injury Table (Table), which lists the vaccines covered under the VICP. This notice ensures that petitioners may file petitions relating to trivalent influenza vaccines with the VICP even before such vaccines are added as a separate and distinct category to the Table through rulemaking.

DATES: This Notice is effective on April 12, 2005. As described below, trivalent influenza vaccines will be covered under the VICP on July 1, 2005.

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To access a web-text (HTML) version of the complete notice, click here.

To access a ready-to-print (PDF) version, click here.

For additional information, go to: www.hrsa.gov/osp/vicp
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April 18, 2005
NEW: CDC SEEKS COMMENT ON ITS RESEARCH AGENDA THROUGH APRIL 19

On April 14, NIP announced that CDC is seeking comment on the CDC-Wide Research Agenda, including comment on immunization-related issues. The announcement is reprinted below in its entirety.

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CDC has initiated a process to develop a CDC-Wide Research Agenda and as a first step a draft listing of broad research concepts has been developed. There will be two opportunities to provide input to reinforce the draft immunization research agenda and/or to suggest additional areas for research.

The draft list of topics is on the Web, and we understand that the website will be up to receive comments through April 19: http://www.rsvpbook.com/custom_pages/792_public_comment.php

Specific immunization topics (immunization services delivery, epidemiology and surveillance of vaccine-preventable diseases, vaccine safety, vaccine supply) are included in the Infectious Diseases Workgroup Starter List. Other topics on the Infectious Diseases list that are not immunization-specific (health disparities) and topics in other Starter Lists (for example, electronic medical records, health communications) may be of interest as well. Global disease prevention by immunization is on the Global Health Workgroup List.

The second opportunity for comment will come later this summer, when a Public Comment Draft will be published in the Federal Register and on the CDC Office of Public Health Research website (http://www.cdc.gov/od/ophr/cdcra.htm) . We will keep you posted when that draft is available.

We encourage you to review these preliminary lists--especially the Infectious Disease list--and provide your comments on the proposed topics.

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April 18, 2005
NEW: CHOP'S VACCINE EDUCATION CENTER LAUNCHES PARENTS PACK, AN ONLINE VACCINE-INFORMATION RESOURCE

The Vaccine Education Center (VEC) at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) recently launched an online vaccine-information resource for parents. Called Parents PACK, the new resource gives VEC and parents a way to communicate directly about vaccination issues, provides parents with vaccination information more regularly than doctor visits can, and gives parents a source for up-to-date immunization information.

Parents PACK includes these online components: a monthly newsletter, FAQs, vaccine scheduling information, school entry requirements, tips for maintaining immunization records, data on age-specific vaccine needs and issues, and an email address to which they can direct questions and suggestions.

VEC requests that healthcare professionals tell their patients about Parents PACK and its resources. Encourage parents to visit the following link and to check back often for updates: http://www.chop.edu/consumer/jsp/division/generic.jsp?id=79354

In addition, VEC will send health professionals two sample growth charts and two sample handout cards to give to parents. To obtain them, call ([215] 590-9990), fax ([215] 590-2025), or email (vaccines@email.chop.edu) and request "Parents PACK materials." (Additional quantities of the growth chart and handout cards are available at a nominal fee through the channels listed above.)
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April 18, 2005
IAC REORGANIZES AND UPDATES ITS ONLINE DIRECTORY OF IMMUNIZATION RESOURCES

IAC recently made significant changes to its online Directory of Immunization Resources. Information was completely reorganized, and material was added and updated. To access the refurbished directory, go to: http://www.immunize.org/resources

Following are links to the main topics, taken from the directory's Table of Contents.

Books and Periodicals:
http://www.immunize.org/resources/books_refer.asp

CDC Materials:
http://www.immunize.org/resources/cdcmat_order.asp

Continuing Educational Opportunities for Health Professionals:
http://www.immunize.org/resources/contedu.asp

Email News Services:
http://www.immunize.org/resources/emailnews.asp

Government Agencies:
http://www.immunize.org/resources/gov_us.asp

Hotlines:
http://www.immunize.org/resources/res_hotlines.asp

International Organizations:
http://www.immunize.org/resources/intorg.asp

IAC Materials:
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/free.htm

Other Partners:
http://www.immunize.org/resources/part_us.asp

Videos and More:
http://www.immunize.org/resources/res_videos.asp
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April 18, 2005
IAC UPDATES MULTIPLE PRINT PIECES RELATED TO VIRAL HEPATITIS

[The following is cross posted from IAC's Hep Express electronic newsletter, 4/15/05.]

IAC recently updated several of its print pieces, primarily to take into account the recently licensed treatment option, entecavir. Following is a list of pieces updated in April 2005.

(1) "Hepatitis A, B, and C: Learn the Differences"

To access a ready-to-print (PDF) version, go to:
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4075abc.pdf

To access a web-text (HTML) version, go to:
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4075abc.htm

(2) "If you have chronic hepatitis B (HBV) infection ..."

To access a ready-to-print (PDF) version, go to:
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4120eng.pdf

To access a web-text (HTML) version, go to:
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4120.htm

(3) "Management of Chronic Hepatitis B Infection in Adults" by Brian McMahon, MD

To access a ready-to-print (PDF) version, go to:
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2161.pdf

To access a web-text (HTML) version, go to:
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2161.htm

(4) "What the Physician Can Do to Help the Child with Chronic Hepatitis B Virus Infection" by Sarah Jane Schwarzenberg, MD

To access a ready-to-print (PDF) version, go to:
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2170sjs.pdf

To access a web-text (HTML) version, go to:
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2170.htm

(5) "You are not alone! Information for young adults who are chronically infected with hepatitis B virus" by Sarah Jane Schwarzenberg, MD, and Karen Wainwright, RN, BS, CCRA

To access a ready-to-print (PDF) version, go to:
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/4118.pdf

To access a web-text (HTML) version, go to:
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/4118.htm

(6) "Brief Introduction to Hepatitis B for Parents of Adopted Children" by Sarah Jane Schwarzenberg, MD

To access a ready-to-print (PDF) version, go to:
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/4150intr.pdf

To access a web-text (HTML) version, go to:
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/4150intr.htm

(7) "Does your patient have chronic hepatitis B?" by Coleman Smith, MD

To access a ready-to-print (PDF) version, go to:
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2162.pdf

To access a web-text (HTML) version, go to:
http://www.immunize.org/nslt.d/n18/p2162.htm

In addition, five recently revised viral hepatitis pieces were re-translated into Turkish, thanks to Drs. Mustafa Kozanoglu and Murat Serbest of Adana, Turkey.

"Hepatitis A, B, and C: Learn the Differences"
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4075tu.pdf

"Protect yourself against hepatitis A and hepatitis B . . . a guide for gay and bisexual men"
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4115tu.pdf

"If you have chronic hepatitis B (HBV) infection ..."
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4120tu.pdf

"Should you be vaccinated against hepatitis A?"
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2190tu.pdf

"Should you be vaccinated against hepatitis B?"
http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2191tu.pdf
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April 18, 2005
NEW: APRIL 15 ISSUE OF IAC'S HEP EXPRESS ELECTRONIC NEWSLETTER NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE

The April 15 issue of Hep Express, an electronic newsletter published by IAC, is now available online. Hep Express is intended for health and social service professionals involved in the prevention and treatment of viral hepatitis. The April 15 issue includes articles on the following:

  • The May 27 deadline for abstracts for the National Viral Hepatitis Prevention Conference
  • The hepatitis focus of the April issue of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors' "HIV Prevention Bulletin"
  • The Hepatitis B Foundation's Winter 2005 issue of "B Informed" and the upcoming B Informed Patient Conference
  • FDA's approval of a new assay test for hepatitis A virus

To access the April 15 issue, go to:
http://www.hepprograms.org/hepexpress/issue28.asp

To sign up for a free subscription to Hep Express, go to:
http://www.hepprograms.org/hepexpress/signup.asp

To access previous issues of Hep Express, go to:
http://www.hepprograms.org/hepexpress/index.asp
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April 18, 2005
NEW: NIP WEBSITE POSTS RECORDINGS OF NIC PRESENTATIONS, REMINDS ATTENDEES THAT APRIL 25 IS DEADLINE FOR CE CREDIT

The Conference Planning Team for the 2005 National Immunization Conference recently announced that recordings of most of the conference presentations are now available for Internet viewing and that the deadline for applying for continuing education (CE) credit is April 25. Details follow.

RECORDINGS. To access recordings of presentations, go to: http://cdc.confex.com/cdc/nic2005/techprogram/meeting_nic2005.htm Scroll down to the conference program. A blue-and-green icon denoting that a recording is available online is to the right of each session or workshop title. To access the recordings, your computer must be capable of setting up WebEx Player.

CE CREDIT. Physicians, nurses, health educators, and pharmacists are invited to apply for up to 16 hours of CE credit free of charge. The deadline is April 25. To apply, go to: http://www.phppo.cdc.gov/phtnonline Register for the 39th NIC, course number EV0434.
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April 18, 2005
PROVIDERS: POWER OF 10 CAMPAIGN MAKES IT EASY TO EDUCATE YOUR PATIENTS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING A Td BOOSTER

This year, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) and the National Coalition for Adult Immunization are focusing the Power of 10 campaign on people involved in do-it-yourself home improvement projects. Now in its third year, the campaign is a major consumer initiative to encourage the public to stay up to date on the tetanus-diphtheria (Td) booster.

People need a booster every 10 years, starting around age 11 or 12 years. CDC statistics, however, indicate that more than half of U.S. adults age 20 years and older are not protected against tetanus and diphtheria.

By providing consumer pamphlets online, the campaign gives providers an easy, low-cost way to educate patients about the importance of the booster. Three pamphlets are available: one for do-it-yourselfers, one for gardeners, and one that has general information.

To download the "Vaccinate before you Renovate" pamphlet, go to:
http://www.nfid.org/powerof10/pdf/PowerOf10_Broc05.pdf

To download the "Get the Dirt on Tetanus," go to:
http://www.nfid.org/powerof10/pdf/PowerOf10_Broc04.pdf

To download "Rusty Nail," the pamphlet that has general information, go to:
http://www.nfid.org/powerof10/pdf/PowerOf10_Broc03.pdf

To access additional information for consumers, as well as information for health professionals and the media, go to the Power of 10 home page and click on the topics located to the left of the screen. Here's the link: http://www.nfid.org/powerof10

 

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 18, 2005