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Issue 999
IAC Express: Weekly immunization news and information
IAC Express 999: June 12, 2012

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EDUCATION AND TRAINING

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TOP STORIES

HHS Office of Inspector General finds vulnerabilities in vaccine management among VFC program providers
On June 5, the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a report titled "Vaccines for Children Program: Vulnerabilities in Vaccine Management." Following is information the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program posted on its website about the report's findings.

The Inspector General released a report based on a routine assessment of the Vaccines for Children program (VFC). VFC is a federally funded vaccine program managed by CDC that provides free vaccines to an estimated 40 million uninsured and Medicaid eligible children each year. The assessment, conducted in April and May of 2011, included 45 providers from the five largest city and state VFC grantees. The report highlights some areas for improvement and underscores the importance of maintaining a robust public health system. General recommendations include: ensuring vaccine storage and handling in accordance with VFC requirements, enhancing processes for handling expired vaccines, improving management of vaccine inventories, and ensuring oversight requirements. CDC and our partners are working with a sense of urgency to address these issues. CDC is incorporating the report findings and recommendations in its plan to strengthen VFC, a vital component in the United States’ successful efforts to protect US residents from vaccine preventable diseases.

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CDC publishes report summarizing U.S. influenza activity during the 2011–12 influenza season
CDC published Update: Influenza Activity–United States, 2011–12 Season and Composition of the 2012–13 Influenza Vaccine in the June 8 issue of MMWR (pages 414–420). A press summary of the article is reprinted below.

The 2011–12 influenza season in the United States was one of the mildest and latest seasons on record. Influenza A (H3N2) viruses predominated overall, but influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 (pH1N1) and influenza B viruses also circulated widely. Compared with recent influenza seasons, this season had a lower percentage of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness, lower rates of hospitalizations, and fewer deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza. The number of pediatric deaths attributable to influenza this season was the lowest reported since data collection began in the 2004–05 season. The majority of viruses analyzed was similar to those included in this year’s vaccine and were sensitive to antiviral drugs. Vaccination remains the most effective way to prevent influenza and its complications. All unvaccinated persons aged 6 months or older should be offered influenza vaccine throughout the influenza season. Annual influenza vaccination is still the best way to protect against influenza infections, hospitalizations, and deaths.

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AAP endorses WHO recommendation to retain thimerosal use in global vaccine supply
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has endorsed a recommendation by the World Health Organization's (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization that the preservative thimerosal be retained for use in the global vaccine supply. The announcement is in response to a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) proposal to remove mercury from all products and processes. 

WHO states that replacing thimerosal with an alternative preservative may affect the quality, safety, efficacy and access to life-saving vaccines. SAGE proposed and the AAP concurs that this portion of the proposed ban should be dropped from the UNEP treaty.

Access AAP News for the full article.

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Spotlight on immunize.org: where you'll find up-to-date vaccine package inserts and contact information for vaccine manufacturers
Looking for vaccine product information? The web sections of Package Inserts and Vaccine Product Manufacturers saves you time: All package insert information for vaccines licensed for use in the United States are provided. In addition, the manufacturers’ section provides website links, contact information, and product listings for vaccine and immune globulin manufacturers.

These listings are part of IAC’s online Directory of Immunization Resources, which is a compendium of helpful immunization resources—such as blogs, books and periodicals, state and local immunization coalitions, email news services, and more—from a variety of organizations: government, professional associations, nonprofit organizations, private industry, and others.

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IAC HANDOUTS

IAC updates "Vaccinations for Adults: You're NEVER too old to get immunized!"
IAC recently updated its patient-education handout Vaccinations for Adults: You're NEVER too old to get immunized! We gave the handout a new design and format to increase reader comprehension. Changes include alphabetized entries in the Vaccines column and simplified presentation of other information.

IAC's Handouts for Patients & Staff web section offers healthcare professionals and the public more than 250 FREE English-language handouts (many also available in translation), which we encourage website users to print out, copy, and distribute widely.

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FEATURED RESOURCES

Vaccine Education Center updates resources on autism, thimerosal, and the safety of giving children multiple vaccinations
The Vaccine Education Center (VEC) at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia recently updated the following fact sheets:
Intended for patients, parents, and providers, these resources answer the most frequently asked questions that concerned parents and patients have about vaccination. Spanish-language versions of the fact sheets about Autism, Thimerosal, and Too Many Vaccines are also available.

These and many other fact sheets are available in PDF format for downloading and printing. They can also be be ordered for $4 per 50 fact sheets, plus shipping. Please note when ordering: The Autism fact sheet comes in a shrink-wrapped package of 50. Other fact sheets come in 50-sheet tear pads.

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EDUCATION AND TRAINING

CDC posts archive of its Immunization NetConference "Coughing up the Facts on Pertussis"
CDC recently posted the archive of its May 30 NetConference, Coughing up the Facts on Pertussis–Emerging Trends and Vaccine Recommendations. The presenter is CDC's Stacey Martin, MSc; CDC's Andrew Kroger, MD, MPH, is the moderator.

A podcast of the NetConference is available at the link above, as are PowerPoint slides, a transcript, and information on continuing education (CE) credit

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CONFERENCES AND MEETINGS

International Rotavirus Symposium scheduled for September 19–21 in Bangkok, Thailand
The tenth International Rotavirus Symposium will take place in Bangkok, Thailand, on September 19–21. Attendance is free,  but early registration is encouraged.

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About IAC Express 
The Immunization Action Coalition welcomes redistribution of this issue of IAC Express or selected articles. When you do so, please add a note that the Immunization Action Coalition is the source of the material and provide a link to this issue.
If you have trouble receiving or displaying IAC Express messages, visit our online help section.
IAC Express is supported in part by Grant No. U38IP000589 from the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, CDC. Its contents are solely the responsibility of IAC and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC. IAC Express is also supported by educational grants from the following companies: Baxter Healthcare Corp.; CSL Biotherapies; GlaxoSmithKline; MedImmune, Inc.; Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp.; Novartis Vaccines; Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, Inc.; Pfizer, Inc.; and sanofi pasteur.
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Issue Abbreviations
AAFP, American Academy of Family Physicians; AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics; ACIP, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices; AMA, American Medical Association; CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; FDA, Food and Drug Administration; IAC, Immunization Action Coalition; MMWR, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report; NCIRD, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases; NIVS, National Influenza Vaccine Summit; VIS, Vaccine Information Statement; VPD, vaccine-preventable disease; WHO, World Health Organization.
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This website is supported in part by a cooperative agreement from the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (Grant No. 6NH23IP22550) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA. The website content is the sole responsibility of IAC and does not necessarily represent the official views of CDC.