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Issue 1035: January 15, 2013




CDC holds press briefing on the 2012–13 influenza season and posts new resources for healthcare providers
On January 11, held a telephone conference with the media titled "Update: Flu Season and Vaccine Effectiveness." The presenters were CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, and Joseph Bresee, MD, chief, Epidemiology and Prevention Branch, Influenza Division, CDC.

Following are the key points made during the conference:
  • The U.S. is experiencing an early flu season, with increased activity on a national scale
  • 47 states report widespread flu activity; 24 of which are reporting a high level of activity
  • Flu activity in the U.S. is likely to continue for several weeks and, while some regions may have peaked in activity, others may still be on the upswing
  • Findings from early data suggest that this season’s flu vaccine is 62 percent effective
  • Current vaccine uptake estimates indicate 36.5% of people 6 months and older have received a flu vaccination this season
Related CDC Resources
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State of New York and Boston declare health emergencies in response to surge of influenza cases
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino recently declared health emergencies as the number of influenza cases soared to elevated levels in their respective communities.

On January 12, Governor Cuomo declared a disaster emergency and temporarily authorized pharmacists to immunize children age 6 months through 18 years against influenza. In the current influenza season, the state of New York has received reports of more than 19,000 confirmed cases of influenza, an increase of more than 400 percent over the number of cases reported throughout the entire 2011–12 influenza season. Many primary healthcare providers in New York are unable to obtain sufficient supplies of vaccine to meet current demand, particularly for vaccinating children. Pharmacists are legally prohibited from immunizing children in New York; the disaster emergency temporarily suspends the prohibition.

On January 9, Mayor Menino declared a public health emergency and directed the Boston Public Health Commission to work with community health centers to offer free flu vaccinations to city residents over the weekend of January 12–13. Boston has received reports of approximately 700 confirmed cases of flu this influenza season, a ten-fold increase compared with the number of confirmed cases reported throughout the entire 2011–12 influenza season.

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Clinicians: The Influenza Vaccine Availability Tracking System (IVATS) can help you find influenza vaccine
Several weeks ago, the National Influenza Vaccine Summit re-opened the Influenza Vaccine Availability Tracking System (IVATS). A resource for healthcare settings looking to purchase influenza vaccine, IVATS contains information from approved, enrolled, and participating wholesale vaccine distributors or manufacturers of U.S. licensed influenza vaccine. Information on the site will be updated throughout the 2012–2013 influenza vaccination season. Keep checking back.

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CDC publishes early estimates of effectiveness of 2012–13 influenza vaccine
On January 11, CDC published Early Estimates of Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness—United States, January 2013 as an MMWR Early Release. The first paragraph of the article is reprinted below.

In the United States, annual vaccination against seasonal influenza is recommended for all persons aged ≥6 months. Each season since 2004–05, CDC has estimated the effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccine to prevent influenza-associated, medically attended acute respiratory infection (ARI). This season, early data from 1,155 children and adults with ARI enrolled during December 3, 2012–January 2, 2013, were used to estimate the overall effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccine for preventing laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infection associated with medically attended ARI. After adjustment for study site, but not for other factors, the estimated vaccine effectiveness (VE) was 62% (95% confidence intervals [CIs] = 51%–71%). This interim estimate indicates moderate effectiveness, and is similar to a summary VE estimate from a meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trial data; final estimates likely will differ slightly. As of January 11, 2013, 24 states and New York City were reporting high levels of influenza-like illness, 16 states were reporting moderate levels, five states were reporting low levels, and one state was reporting minimal levels. CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices routinely recommend that annual influenza vaccination efforts continue as long as influenza viruses are circulating. Persons aged ≥6 months who have not yet been vaccinated this season should be vaccinated. However, these early VE estimates underscore that some vaccinated persons will become infected with influenza; therefore, antiviral medications should be used as recommended for treatment in patients, regardless of vaccination status. In addition, these results highlight the importance of continued efforts to develop more effective vaccines.

IAC Express editor's note: CDC publishes MMWR Early Release reports on the Web outside of the routine MMWR weekly publication schedule for the immediate release of important public health information. Reports published electronically or updates of those reports will be included in a future printed issue of MMWR.

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Influenza is spreading and serious, and vaccination is recommended for nearly everyone, so please keep vaccinating your patients
Influenza vaccination is recommended for everyone age 6 months and older, so please continue to vaccinate your patients. If you don't provide influenza vaccination in your clinic, please recommend vaccination to your patients and refer them to the HealthMap Vaccine Finder to locate sites near their workplace or home that offer influenza vaccination services.

Following is a list of resources related to influenza disease and vaccination for healthcare professionals and the public.

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NACCHO calls for mandatory influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel
The board of directors of the National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO) recently approved a statement of policy titled Influenza Vaccinations for Healthcare Personnel. Portions of the policy statement are reprinted below.

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) urges health care employers and local health departments (LHDs) to require influenza vaccination for all staff as a condition of employment. This mandate is necessary to achieve the Healthy People 2020 annual goal of 90 percent influenza vaccine coverage for health care personnel (HCP). Health care personnel is defined as anyone who works or volunteers in a health care setting and/or an LHD whose job may call for direct patient contact. NACCHO stresses the importance of implementing prevention strategies that will reduce the spread of influenza infection among HCP and their patients to decrease the burden on the overall health care system. . . .

The CDC estimates that there are 3,000 to 49,000 influenza-associated deaths each year in the United States. On average, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized annually for respiratory illness and heart conditions caused by seasonal influenza virus infection. Patients who are at higher risk for influenza and its complications have frequent close contact with HCP while seeking inpatient and outpatient services. Unvaccinated HCP have been implicated as sources of influenza infections in outbreaks among adults and children in both acute and long-term care settings. Immunization is the most effective way to protect patients and HCP from influenza infections.

HCP immunization is a vital step to protect those at high risk from severe influenza infections. Despite CDC recommendations for HCP to be vaccinated against influenza, the rates among this group remain well below the Healthy People 2020 goal of 90 percent. During the 2010–11 influenza season, only 63.5 percent of HCP were vaccinated.

IAC's Honor Roll for Patient Safety
NACCHO's policy statement has been added to IAC's Honor Roll for Patient Safety. See the following article for information on the honor roll.

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IAC Spotlight! Five more healthcare organizations join IAC's Honor Roll for Patient Safety
IAC urges qualifying healthcare organizations to apply for its Honor Roll for Patient Safety. The honor roll recognizes hospitals, medical practices, professional organizations, and government entities that have taken a stand for patient safety by implementing mandatory influenza vaccination policies for healthcare personnel. More than 250 organizations are now enrolled.

Since December 4, when IAC Express last reported on the Honor Roll for Patient Safety, the following 5 organizations have been enrolled.

Newly added professional societies, government entities, and healthcare organizations
Professional society: National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO) issued a position statement.

Healthcare organizations: Flagstaff Medical Center, Flagstaff, AZ; Advocate Health Care, Oak Brook, IL; Lourdes Health System, Camden, NJ; and MetroHealth System, Cleveland, OH.

Related links
  • Listing of all honorees by state
  • Position statements from professional societies and leading healthcare organizations in support of mandatory influenza vaccination
  • Honor roll web section, which includes access to the application form (see the gold trophy cup in right column, and click on the words "Apply for the Honor Roll")
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Voices for Vaccines helps parents speak up for immunization
Voices for Vaccines (VFV) is a national organization of parents and others who are dedicated to raising the level of the voices of immunization supporters. VFV has strong, direct support from scientists, healthcare professionals, and public health officials in its mission to provide parents, caregivers, and others opportunities to advocate for on-time immunization.

Launched initially in 2008, VFV is being revitalized by Karen Ernst and Ashley Shelby, two young Twin Cities parents who have volunteered to lead the organization. In 2010, Shelby and Ernst founded the blog Moms Who Vax, which offers vaccine information, resources, commentary, and first-person stories from parents who immunize. The two women are also working to develop the Minnesota Childhood Immunization Coalition.

Visit the Voices for Vaccines Website
The About tab of the VFV website tells the complete story of the organization’s mission, motivation, and principles. There you can also find short bios of the highly respected members of its scientific advisory board. Voices for Vaccines is a national organization that welcomes everyone—parents, healthcare professionals, and all others—to come together by joining. Please spread the word to your friends and colleagues.

Attend the VFV Fundraising Party If You Live In or Are Visiting the Twin Cities Area
If you live in or near the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul or will be visiting on Saturday, January 19, please consider attending the VFV fundraiser.  Suggested admission is $10. There will be a silent auction, live band, and a great time hosted by master of ceremonies Don Shelby, a Peabody Award-winning investigative journalist. Until his retirement in 2010, Shelby was a much revered television news anchor on WCCO-TV, the Twin Cities CBS affiliate.

The party runs from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Pourhouse, 10 S. 5th St., Minneapolis, 55402 (612/843-2555). For information on the event or to become an event sponsor, email

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Translations of the pediatric multi-vaccine VIS in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Somali, and Vietnamese now available
You may use the four-page pediatric multi-vaccine VIS in place of individual two-page VISs whenever you administer routine birth through 6-month vaccines (DTaP, IPV, Hib, hepatitis B, PCV, and rotavirus)  or give combination vaccines (e.g., Pediarix or Comvax). Click on the link above for additional information on the correct use of the multi-vaccine VIS.

IAC recently posted translations of the pediatric multi-vaccine VIS in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Somali, and Vietnamese.
  • Access 23 current Spanish VIS translations
  • Access 19 current Arabic VIS translations
  • Access 19 current Chinese VIS translations
  • Access 17 current French VIS translations
  • Access 20 current Russian VIS translations
  • Access 18 current Somali VIS translations
  • Access 21 current Vietnamese VIS translations
Visit IAC's VIS web section for VISs in more than 35 languages.

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About IZ Express

IZ Express is supported in part by Grant No. 1NH23IP922654 from CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Its contents are solely the responsibility of and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC.

IZ Express Disclaimer
ISSN 2771-8085

Editorial Information

  • Editor-in-Chief
    Kelly L. Moore, MD, MPH
  • Managing Editor
    John D. Grabenstein, RPh, PhD
  • Associate Editor
    Sharon G. Humiston, MD, MPH
  • Writer/Publication Coordinator
    Taryn Chapman, MS
    Courtnay Londo, MA
  • Style and Copy Editor
    Marian Deegan, JD
  • Web Edition Managers
    Arkady Shakhnovich
    Jermaine Royes
  • Contributing Writer
    Laurel H. Wood, MPA
  • Technical Reviewer
    Kayla Ohlde

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