Issue Number 123            October 29, 1999


  1. ACIP no longer recommends rotavirus vaccine for U.S. infants
  2. ACIP modifies recommendation for meningococcal vaccination
  3. Employment opportunity! The Immunization Action Coalition is looking for a publication assistant
  4. Get it by fax! Request the 1999-2000 influenza VIS from CDC's "Fax on Demand" service
  5. CDC's National Immunization Program website has a new look!
  6. Lyme disease Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) now available on IAC's website
  7. Every Child By Two holds annual conference in December
  8. Asian Pacific Islander hepatitis B posters available
  9. Rabies conference scheduled for November in San Diego


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October 22, 1999

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a press statement entitled "ACIP Recommendation: U.S. Rotavirus Vaccine" on October 22, 1999. The statement is reprinted below as follows:

"The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended today that Rotashield, the only U.S.-licensed rotavirus vaccine, no longer be recommended for infants in the United States. Today's action is based on the results of an expedited review of scientific data presented to the ACIP by CDC in cooperation with the FDA, NIH, and Public Health Service officials, alongwith Wyeth-Lederle. Data from the review indicate a strong association between Rotashield and intussusception (bowel obstruction) among some infants during the first 1-2 weeks following vaccination. Use of the vaccine was suspended in July pending the data review by the ACIP. Parents should be reassured that their children who received rotavirus vaccine before July and remain well are not at increased risk for intussusception now. 

"Rotavirus and other causes of severe diarrhea remain a serious health concern for young children in the United States. In the U.S., rotavirus disease has been associated with approximately 50,000 hospitalizations and at least 20 deaths per year.

"CDC announced today the start of a national education program to help parents manage severe diarrhea in children, the most serious complication of rotavirus illness. Education efforts will include outreach to parents through  their health care providers and directly to parents through popular media such as parent magazines and radio public service announcements, in English and Spanish. Parents are urged to learn steps to relieve diarrhea symptoms in their children. Most importantly, parents are urged to learn the signs that their child may be suffering from severe dehydration from diarrhea and needs immediate medical care. Signs of severe dehydration in children include crying without tears, sunken eyes, unusual drowsiness or fussiness and dry, sticky mouth.

"In July, the Public Health Service recommended to parents and health care providers that they postpone use of Rotashield as a precautionary measure following reports, from its early alert system, of intussusception among some  infants following rotavirus vaccination. Also at that time, the manufacturer in consultation with the FDA voluntarily ceased distribution of the vaccine and, last week, withdrew the vaccine from the U.S. market. Experts agree that  continued research is needed to clarify the relationship between intussusception and this rotavirus vaccine and to develop new vaccines against this disease.

"Most importantly, health care providers should reassure parents that continued immunization of children against other life-threatening diseases is critical to prevent illness and disease outbreaks. Overall, vaccines are one 
of the safest and most effective medical interventions of our time, and the decision to immunize children against diseases like polio, whooping cough, bacterial meningitis and diphtheria is a sound one. For more information about  vaccines, contact CDC's National Immunization Information Hotline at 1-800-232-2522 (English) or 1-800-232-0233 (Spanish). For more information about managing diarrhea in children, visit CDC's website at"

To obtain the text version of this CDC press release, visit: (link discontinued)

To obtain more information about managing severe diarrhea in children, go to:

For additional information on rotavirus vaccine, visit CDC's National Immunization Program website at:

You can also visit IAC's "Rotavirus Information" web page at:

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October 20, 1999

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the following press release entitled "ACIP Modifies Recommendations for Meningitis Vaccination" on October 20, 1999. The press release is reprinted as follows:

 "The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has modified its guidelines for use of the polysaccharide meningococcal vaccine to prevent bacterial meningitis, particularly for college freshmen who live in dormitories, a group found to be at a modestly increased risk of  meningococcal disease relative to other persons their age. 

"At its October 20 meeting, the ACIP, citing results of two CDC studies done in 1998 which identified the slightly higher risk among freshman dormitory residents, recommended that those who provide medical care to this group give information to students and their parents about meningococcal disease  and the benefits of vaccination. Vaccination should be provided or made easily available to those freshmen who wish to reduce their risk of disease. Other undergraduate students wishing to reduce their risk of meningococcal disease can also choose to be vaccinated. 

"The currently available vaccine protects against some types (serogroups) of the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis (also called meningococcus), an important cause of bacterial meningitis and sepsis in children and young adults in the United States. A single dose of the vaccine is recommended,  and vaccination will decrease the risk of disease caused by N. meningitidis serogroups A, C, Y, and W-135. However, vaccination will not totally eliminate risk of the disease because the vaccine does not protect against serogroup B and because, although it is highly effective against serogroups C and Y, it still does not confer 100% protection against these serogroups. In 1998-1999, serogroups C and Y caused about 70% of cases among college students. 

"Approximately 3,000 cases of meningococcal disease occur each year in the United States, and 10%-13% of patients die despite receiving antibiotics early in the illness. Of those who survive, an additional 10% have severe aftereffects  of the disease, including mental retardation, hearing loss and loss of limbs. 

"On September 30, 1997, the American College Health Association (ACHA), which represents about one-half of colleges with student health services in the United States, released a statement recommending that "college health  services [take] a more proactive role in alerting students and their parents about the dangers of meningococcal disease" and that "college students consider vaccination against potentially fatal meningococcal disease." In early 1998, CDC, in collaboration with the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and ACHA's Vaccine Preventable Disease Task Force, initiated two studies to better define the risk of meningococcal disease ssociated with college campuses. Both studies indicated that freshmen college students, particularly those who live in dormitories, constitute a group at a modestly increased risk for meningococcal disease. 

"More information on meningococcal disease, its symptoms, and the vaccine is available on the CDC website, and the American College Health Association." (link discontinued)

To obtain a copy of the text version (HTML format) of this press release, go to:

For additional information about meningococcal vaccine, visit the "Meningococcal Disease and Vaccination" page on IAC's website at:

To read and/or download questions and answers on meningococcal disease that appeared in the fall/winter 1999-2000 issue of "NEEDLE TIPS and the Hepatitis B Coalition News," go to:

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October 29, 1999

If you or anyone you know might be interested in the following employment opportunity, please contact the Immunization Action Coalition. Application instructions are described in the job description below.

Pack up your writing and communication skills and come to work at the Immunization Action Coalition, a small, award-winning, nonprofit national publishing organization. Join a small staff of high-spirited professionals who are dedicated and meticulous, but still wear jeans and have fun! 

We need an attentive-to-detail person to work closely with the executive director to assist her with writing and editing. Must be well organized, efficient, versed in PCs, Internet, word processing (WP), superior writing and grammar skills, excellent communicator, detail oriented, "people person." Pagemaker a plus. Full benefits and competitive compensation commensurate with experience and skills. Visit, then send your resume and at least one writing sample by November 12 to:

By mail:
Linda Boerger-Johnson, Office Manager
Immunization Action Coalition
1573 Selby Ave., #234
St. Paul, MN 55104

By fax:
(651) 647-9131

By e-mail:

This employment opportunity is also posted on IAC's website at:

In addition, a management position is also open at the Coalition. To view this job description, go to:

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October 29, 1999

If you are having trouble acquiring the 1999-2000 Influenza Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) from your state health department or from the Immunization Action Coalition's (IAC) VIS website, you can call the "Fax on Demand" service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) and request that you receive this VIS by fax.

Individuals who would like to receive a fax of the 1999-2000 Influenza VIS should call (888) 232-3299, press #1, then enter the 6-digit number: 600500. At this point in the automated service, callers are prompted to touch-tone in  their fax number. You will receive the fax within 15 minutes of your request. 

To request that a camera-ready copy of this VIS in Spanish, Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian, Russian, Somali, Spanish, and/or Vietnamese be sent to you in the mail, call the Minnesota Department of Health's immunization hotline at (800) 657-3970.

NOTE: These translations are also available on IAC's website at:

In addition to the 1999-2000 influenza VIS, a multitude of immunization resources are available from CDC's "Fax on Demand" service. To obtain a complete listing of all items available by fax, call (888) 232-3299 and press #2. You will be prompted to select a directory of resources that fits your interest (press #6 to hear information about the immunization directory).

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October 29, 1999

Check it out! The National Immunization Program (NIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a newly designed website with easier access to program information and hot topics. Topics include vaccine safety such as new information on rotavirus vaccine and thimerosal, the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, immunization registries, travelers'  health, satellite broadcasts and much more. To see the transformation for yourself, visit NIP's website at:

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October 29, 1999

The Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) for Lyme disease vaccine is now available on the Immunization Action Coalition's (IAC) website. Currently, this VIS is only available in English.

To obtain a camera-ready copy (PDF format) of the November 1, 1999, Lyme disease vaccine VIS, go to:

If you have any difficulty downloading this VIS, call your state health department immunization program to obtain a copy. For a complete listing of state immunization program phone numbers, go to:

To obtain a complete listing of all VISs available on IAC's website in English and up to 17 additional languages, visit:

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October 29, 1999

David Satcher, MD, U.S. Surgeon General; Jose Cordero, MD, Deputy Director of the National Immunization Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Tipper Gore are among the speakers invited to the eighth annual Immunization Partners Conference and Strategic Planning Session of the Every Child By Two (ECBT) organization set for December 6-7, 1999, in Washington, DC. 

For registration information, or to nominate a program or individual for an ECBT award, please go to the ECBT website at: or call (202) 783-7035.

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October 29, 1999

The Washington State Department of Health Immunization Program in collaboration with the Washington-based organization Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies (HMHB) has produced a set of six posters promoting hepatitis B  vaccination for persons of Asian or Pacific Islander (API) ethnicity. Each colorful 11" x 17" poster features beautiful photography of families and  children and culturally appropriate graphics. The posters are available in Cambodian, Chinese, Korean, Samoan, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

Though the posters were primarily created for API populations in Washington State, the message on the posters is universal for API populations stating "Hepatitis B: Are your children protected?" The Immunization Action Coalition of Washington State (IACW) is making these posters available to all interested persons, including state hepatitis coordinators and health professionals outside of Washington.

NOTE: IACW is an independent Washington-state-based coalition that works to promote immunization for Washington's children and adults.

The posters cost $.50 each, plus shipping and handling. For a nominal charge, IACW will make up labels with your local immunization contact numbers to place over the Washington State number printed on the poster. To obtain more  information about exact costs and/or to place an order, please contact Libby Truex Wayss, IACW Project Coordinator, by e-mail at or by fax at (206) 270-8891. You can also call (206) 285-1461.

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October 29, 1999

The "10th International Rabies in the Americas Conference" is scheduled for November 14-19, 1999, in San Diego, CA. Sponsors include the California Association of Public Health Laboratory Directors, the Viral and Rickettsial Disease Laboratory Branch, and the Veterinary Public Health Section of the California Department of Health Services.

Program and registration information can be found at: or call Donna Taclindo at (510) 540-2830 or send e-mail to

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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.

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Editorial Information

  • Editor-in-Chief
    Kelly L. Moore, MD, MPH
  • Managing Editor
    John D. Grabenstein, RPh, PhD
  • Associate Editor
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  • Writer/Publication Coordinator
    Taryn Chapman, MS
    Courtnay Londo, MA
  • Style and Copy Editor
    Marian Deegan, JD
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    Laurel H. Wood, MPA
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