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Issue 1,546: January 27, 2021
Top Stories

Featured Resources

Journal Articles and Newsletters

On the Lighter Side

Top Stories

Watch virtual ACIP meetings on January 27 and February 24–25; no registration is required

Live, virtual meetings of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will be held on January 27 and February 24–25. The respective agendas (including times) are posted before the meetings and are expected to feature COVID-19 vaccination. No registration is required to watch the live ACIP meeting or listen via telephone. Look for instructions on how to sign up for public comment at the Public Comment tab of the ACIP web page.

Related Link

  • ACIP gateway page for recordings and content from previous meetings, as well as information about future meetings

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MMWR report on Moderna COVID-19 vaccine addressing allergic reactions after first doses published December 21, 2020–January 10, 2021

CDC published Allergic Reactions including Anaphylaxis after Receipt of the First Dose of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine—United States, December 21, 2020–January 10, 2021 in the MMWR Early Release issued on January 22. Portions of the summary are reprinted below.

During December 21, 2020–January 10, 2021, monitoring by the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System detected 10 cases of anaphylaxis after administration of a reported 4,041,396 first doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (2.5 cases per million doses administered). In nine cases, onset occurred within 15 minutes of vaccination. No anaphylaxis-related deaths were reported.… 

Locations administering COVID-19 vaccines should adhere to CDC guidance, including screening recipients for contraindications and precautions, having necessary supplies and staff members available to manage anaphylaxis, implementing recommended postvaccination observation periods, and immediately treating suspected anaphylaxis with intramuscular epinephrine injection.

Access the MMWR Early Release article in HTML format or in PDF format.

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CDC updates clinical considerations for use of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines

CDC updated its Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Authorized in the United States. With permission, a CDC partner message is summarized below.

Updated recommendations on intervals between the first and second dose

  • Language added to clarify doses inadvertently administered earlier than the grace period should not be repeated
  • Language added: “The second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible. However, if it is not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval, the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be scheduled for administration up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose. There are currently limited data on efficacy of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines administered beyond this window. If the second dose is administered beyond these intervals, there is no need to restart the series.”

Updated recommendations on interchangeability of vaccine products

  • Language added to suggest strategies to help assure patients receive the second dose with the appropriate product and interval between doses:
    • Providing vaccination record cards, asking recipients to bring their card to their second-dose appointment, and encouraging recipients to make a backup copy (e.g., photographing the card with their phone)
    • Encouraging recipients to enroll in VaxText, a free text message-based platform, to receive COVID-19 vaccination second-dose reminders; to enroll, text ENROLL to 1-833-VaxText (829-8398)
    • Recording each vaccination in the immunization information system (IIS)
    • Recording vaccination in the patient’s medical record
    • Making an appointment for the second dose before the recipient leaves, to increase the likelihood that patients will return to the same vaccination site

Updated language on vaccination of persons with a history of SARS-CoV-2 infection

  • “Data from clinical trials indicate that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines can safely be given to persons with evidence of a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection”
  • “Viral testing to assess for acute SARS-CoV-2 infection or serologic testing to assess for prior infection for the purposes of vaccine decision-making is not recommended”
  • “While there is no recommended minimum interval between infection and vaccination, current evidence suggests that the risk of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection is low in the months after initial infection but may increase with time due to waning immunity. Thus, while vaccine supply remains limited, persons with recent documented acute SARS-CoV-2 infection may choose to temporarily delay vaccination, if desired, recognizing that the risk of reinfection, and therefore the need for vaccination, may increase with time following initial infection.”

New vaccination recommendations with a history of dermal fillers

  • Language added: “Infrequently, persons who have received dermal fillers may develop swelling at or near the site of filler injection (usually face or lips) following administration of a dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. This appears to be temporary and can resolve with medical treatment, including corticosteroid therapy. mRNA COVID-19 vaccines may be administered to persons who have received injectable dermal fillers who have no contraindications to vaccination. No additional precautions are needed. However, these persons should be advised to contact their healthcare provider for evaluation if they develop swelling at or near the site of dermal filler following vaccination.”

Additional resources on vaccine excipients (Appendix B)

  • Language added in Appendix B: “As of January 21, 2021, mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are the only currently available vaccines in the United States that contain PEG, though several vaccines contain polysorbate (more information can be found in CDC’s vaccine excipient summary)”

CDC is expected to update other documents soon, including standing orders, the prevaccination screening form, and vaccine administration guidance. 

View CDC's Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Authorized in the United States.

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CDC publishes media statement from its new director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky

On January 20, U.S. President Joe Biden named Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, as director of CDC. A portion of Dr. Walensky's statement is reprinted below.

...I am proud to join this agency, and I recognize the seriousness of the moment. The toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on America is truly heartbreaking — for the loss of our loved ones and our beloved ways of life. At Massachusetts General Hospital, I saw firsthand the many difficulties this pandemic brings to our frontline workers and first responders, hospitals and public health systems, communities, and loved ones.

Better, healthier days lie ahead. But to get there, COVID-19 testing, surveillance, and vaccination must accelerate rapidly....
America and the world are counting on CDC’s science and leadership. Just as it has since the beginning of the pandemic, CDC will continue to focus on what is known — and what more can be learned — about the virus to guide America. As part of that promise, CDC’s Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat will begin leading a comprehensive review of all existing guidance related to COVID-19. Wherever needed, this guidance will be updated so that people can make decisions and take action based upon the best available evidence....

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CDC launches two COVID-19 vaccination communication toolkits for community- based organizations and essential workers

CDC has released two new toolkits with ready-to-use materials to help build confidence about COVID-19 vaccination. CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Toolkit for Community-Based Organizations and COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Toolkit for Essential Workers include:

  • Guides for building vaccine confidence within community-based organizations and critical infrastructure sectors
  • Turn-key slide decks for virtual town halls or other informational meetings 
  • Posters and flyers for multiple occupations and settings
  • Fact sheets and FAQs in eight languages
  • Newsletter content and letters to members 
  • Social media sample messages
  • Printable buttons/stickers for individuals to wear once they’ve gotten their vaccine

View CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Toolkit for Community-Based Organizations and COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Toolkit for Essential Workers today!

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HHS releases a 5-year Vaccines National Strategic Plan, focused on protection across the lifespan

On January 19, the U.S. Department of Human Health Services (HHS) released its Vaccines National Strategic Plan: 2021–2025 (PDF). 

This vaccine plan sets forth a vision for how the United States will be a place where vaccine-preventable diseases are eliminated through safe and effective vaccination across the lifespan.

The vaccine plan includes five goals to guide planning efforts:
  • Foster innovation in vaccine development and related technologies
  • Maintain the highest possible levels of vaccine safety
  • Increase knowledge of and confidence in routinely recommended vaccines
  • Increase access to and use of all routinely recommended vaccines
  • Protect the health of the nation by supporting global immunization efforts

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Vaccinate Your Family launches state legislation tracker

Vaccinate Your Family has launched its state legislation tracker with information on new and existing vaccine-related legislation. Updated each morning, the tracker has an interactive state map and contact information for state legislators to encourage their support of immunizations.

Sign up for Immunization Alerts from Vaccinate Your Family to get more information about what’s happening across the country and how you can help support vaccinations for people of all ages.

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Learn about the work of this new organization, Science and Families Engaging (SAFE) Communities Coalition and Action Fund 

The Science and Families Engaging (SAFE) Communities Coalition and Action Fund is a pair of organizations with a simple mandate:

  • Advocate for pro-science legislation
  • Elect pro-science candidates
  • Counter anti-vaccination candidates

The SAFE Communities Coalition is an IRS section 527 political action committee that harnesses broad resources to counter the anti-vaccination movement at every level of government, from local school boards to Congress, governors’ mansions, and more. The SAFE Action Fund is an IRS 501(c)(4) social-welfare organization that advocates for legislation and educates the public on pro-science messages.

To learn more about the SAFE Communities Coalition and Action Fund, visit or join their mailing list.

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"Vaccination Coverage with Selected Vaccines and Exemption Rates among Children in Kindergarten—United States, 2019–20 School Year" published in MMWR

CDC published Vaccination Coverage with Selected Vaccines and Exemption Rates among Children in Kindergarten—United States, 2019–20 School Year in the January 22 issue of MMWR. A portion of a media summary of the MMWR article appears below.

Before schools return to in-person learning, it’s important that districts and immunization programs increase efforts to follow-up with students who are not fully vaccinated to maintain the high level of coverage necessary to protect children, families, and communities against vaccine-preventable diseases....Overall, coverage was approximately 95% for the state-required number of vaccine doses that prevent diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis (DTaP), measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), and varicella. While 2.5% of kindergartners had an exemption from at least one vaccine, another 2.3% of kindergartners were not up to date for MMR and did not have a vaccine exemption. Considering the disruptions to healthcare provider operations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, extra effort will be required by healthcare providers, schools, and immunization programs to ensure all students are caught up on vaccinations in preparation for a return to in-school learning.

Access the MMWR article in HTML format or in PDF format.

Related Link

  • MMWR gateway page provides access to MMWR Weekly, MMWR Recommendations and Reports, MMWR Surveillance Summaries, and MMWR Supplements

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IAC Spotlight! IAC offers a collection of its new COVID-19 vaccine resources for healthcare personnel

IAC has developed many new resources to help healthcare personnel stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccination information including:

Check back periodically as IAC's COVID-19 vaccine resources expand. 

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Flu activity remains unusually low, but don't let your guard down; make sure all of your patients get vaccinated against influenza

While seasonal influenza activity in the U.S. remains lower than usual for this time of year, it is still important to make sure all of your patients age 6 months and older are vaccinated. Flu vaccination can help save medical resources for the care of COVID-19 patients by reducing the burden of flu illness on healthcare systems. If you don’t provide influenza vaccine at your site, please strongly recommend vaccination and refer to a site that does vaccinate.

Boston Children’s Hospital, in partnership with CDC, has developed VaccineFinder, a user-friendly website to help adult and pediatric patients find flu and other vaccines. Participating providers can now update supply estimates on VaccineFinder for a more accurate reporting. For questions or more information, contact

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IAC enrolls three new birthing institutions into its Hepatitis B Birth Dose Honor Roll; four institutions qualify for additional years' honors 

The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) is pleased to announce that three new institutions have been accepted into its Hepatitis B Birth Dose Honor Roll, for a total of 528 honorees. The birthing institutions are listed below with their reported hepatitis B birth dose coverage rates in parentheses.

  • St. Joseph’s Hospital North, Lutz, FL (92%)
  • Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital, Ste. Genevieve, MO (95%)
  • St. Francis-Emory, Columbus, GA (94%)

One institution is being recognized for a second year:

  • Bridgeport Hospital, Bridgeport, CT (92%) 

Two institutions are being recognized for a fifth year:

  • Franciscan Health Michigan City, Michigan City, IN (95%)
  • Olivia Hospital & Clinic, Olivia, MN (92%)

One institution is being recognized for a sixth year:

  • MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, OH (96%)

The Honor Roll now includes 528 birthing institutions from 44 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and an overseas U.S. military base. One hundred twenty-two institutions have qualified for 2 years, 72 institutions have qualified three times, 37 institutions have qualified four times, 26 institutions have qualified five times, 19 institutions have qualified six times, seven institutions have qualified seven times, two institutions have qualified eight times and one institution has qualified nine times.

The Honor Roll is a key part of IAC’s major initiative urging the nation’s hospitals to Give Birth to the End of Hep B. Hospitals and birthing centers are recognized for attaining high coverage rates for administering hepatitis B vaccine at birth and meeting specific additional criteria. The initiative urges qualifying healthcare organizations to apply for the Hepatitis B Birth Dose Honor Roll online.

To be included in the Hepatitis B Birth Dose Honor Roll, a birthing institution must have: (1) reported a coverage rate of 90 percent or greater, over a 12- month period, for administering hepatitis B vaccine before hospital discharge to all newborns, including those whose parents refuse vaccination, and (2) implemented specific written policies, procedures, and protocols to protect all newborns from hepatitis B virus infection prior to hospital discharge.

Honorees are also awarded an 8.5" x 11" color certificate suitable for framing and their acceptance is announced to IAC Express’s approximately 52,000 readers.

Please visit the Hepatitis B Birth Dose Honor Roll web page that lists these institutions and their exceptional efforts to protect infants from perinatal hepatitis B transmission.

Related IAC Resources

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IAC experts called on by news media

With vaccines in the news so much lately, journalists have sought out IAC experts to communicate the intricacies of running a quality vaccination program. Our insights have helped explain vaccines to the public and policy makers. We want to help them understand the complex work vaccinators do. We've reached mass markets and local stations across the U.S. and overseas via print, radio, television, blogs, and more. Here is a selection of our recent citations:

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Not-to-miss immunization articles in the news

These recent articles convey the potential risks of vaccine-preventable diseases and the importance of vaccination.

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Featured Resources

Help CDC test its new interactive Q&A web tool, the Flu ChatBot

CDC is pilot testing an interactive web feature called the CDC SmartFind Flu ChatBot that answers common questions about flu and flu vaccines. A chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users. CDC encourages website visitors to try it out. The Flu Chatbot allows users to provide feedback on its answers, which helps improve this resource.

Check out the Flu ChatBot today!

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In IAC’s “Video of the Week,” America's teens recruit Elvis in the fight against polio

In this January 2021 video, Cambridge University historian Stephen Mawdsley describes how teenagers, who comprised a third of new cases of polio in 1957, devised strategies to appeal to their peers to increase polio vaccination. One strategy was to have Elvis Presley get vaccinated on television. This successful fight against vaccine complacency, Mawdsley suggests, could provide important lessons for today.


Visit the whole collection at the VOTW archive.

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Use IAC’s expanded “Repository of Resources for Maintaining Immunization during the COVID-19 Pandemic” to catch up on routine immunization 

IAC now offers more than 282 items in its Repository of Resources for Maintaining Immunization during the COVID-19 Pandemic gateway page. Located on the website of the National Network of Immunization Coalitions, a project of IAC, this repository includes links to both national and state-level policies and guidance; advocacy materials, including talking points, webinars, press releases, articles, and social media posts; and telehealth resources.

These resources are intended for healthcare settings, state and local health departments, professional societies, immunization coalitions, advocacy groups, and the community. The resources can be sorted and searched by date, title, geographic area, source, type, age category, or setting.

If you have a resource to suggest for the repository, please send a message to

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Great for workplace recognitions! IAC’s elegantly designed “Vaccines Save Lives” black enamel pins show how much you value vaccination.

Several thousand sold already! IAC’s elegantly designed “Vaccines Save Lives” pins are meaningful gifts for people who care about immunization. The pin makes a refined statement in hard black enamel with gold lettering and edges, measuring 1.125" x 0.75".

The pin is a stick-through-post variety with the back end covered by a round rubber cap that holds the pin securely. A gold metal spring-lock clasp is also provided. 

Wear these pins on clothing, uniforms, and white coats to show that you value vaccines! They make a meaningful gift for people who care about immunization.


Click here for "Vaccines Save Lives" pin pricing and ordering information.

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Valuable resources added to IAC's website to help set up mass vaccination clinics

The Immunization Action Coalition’s newest website,, assists you in finding a wide range of ideas for developing your own mass vaccination clinics. Mass vaccination efforts will be useful for expediting flu vaccination this fall and may be needed after COVID-19 vaccines are licensed for use in large groups of people.

The website features a searchable list of resources for a variety of venues, including curbside, drive-through, and walk-through clinics; mobile medical vans; pharmacies; and schools. The database contains guidance documents, toolkits, publications, and other helpful resources that can be adapted to your community or individual healthcare setting.

Many of the documents were written in the pre-pandemic era and will need modification to ensure that additional protections, such as social distancing and personal protective equipment, help safeguard against COVID-19 transmission.

More resources have been added, including:

In addition, IAC's archived, full-length webinar highlighting best practices and offering practical information for conducting a successful mass vaccination clinic, Mass Vaccination Clinics: Challenges and Best Practices, can also be viewed on www.Mass-Vaccination-
If you have a resource to suggest for the website, please send a message to
The webinar and the new website are supported by a medical education grant from Seqirus.

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Journal Articles and Newsletters

CHOP's Vaccine Education Center publishes January issue of Vaccine Update newsletter

The Vaccine Education Center (VEC) at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) publishes a monthly immunization-focused newsletter titled Vaccine Update. The January issue includes the following articles:

Additional resources, including information booklets for patients, are available in the full newsletter.

Access the sign-up form to subscribe to Vaccine Update.

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"Fake News and Science Denier Attacks on Vaccines. What Can You Do?" published in Canada Communicable Disease Report

In the November 5 issue, Canada Communicable Disease Report published Fake News and Science Denier Attacks on Vaccines. What Can You Do? The abstract is reprinted below. 

Misinformation and disinformation ("fake news") about vaccines are contagious—travelling faster and farther than truth. The consequences are serious; leading to negative impacts on health decisions, including vaccine acceptance, and on trust in immunization advice from public health and/or healthcare professionals. This article provides a brief overview of evidence-based strategies to address vaccine deniers in public, in clinical practice and in social situations. As well, a strategy to help differentiate between vaccine deniers and simple vaccine refusers in a practice or clinic is provided. Five tactics are widely used by vaccine deniers: conspiracy; fake experts; selectivity; impossible expectations; and misrepresentation and false logic. Recognizing and understanding these tactics can help protect against misinformation and science denialism propaganda. Highlighting the strong medical science consensus on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines also helps. Carefully and wisely choosing what to say and speaking up—whether you are at a dinner party, out with friends or in your medical office or clinic—is crucial. Not speaking up implies you agree with the misinformation. Having healthcare providers recognize and address misinformation using evidence-based strategies is of growing importance as the arrival of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines is expected to further ramp up the vaccine misinformation and disinformation rhetoric. Healthcare providers must prepare themselves and act now to combat the vaccine misinformation tsunami.

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On the Lighter Side

In 1999 PSA La Vacuna Es Protección from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a narrator describes how vaccines protect young children  

In this 1999 public service announcement (PSA) titled La Vacuna Es Protección from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the narrator describes that vaccines are protection for young children. This PSA is part of a collection curated by vaccine expert William L. Atkinson, MD, MPH.

Previous PSAs featured in “On the Lighter Side” are available when viewing this Vimeo video

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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.

IAC Express is supported in part by Grant No. 6NH23IP922550 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 Disclaimer
ISSN: 1526-1786

Our mailing address:
Immunization Action Coalition
2550 University Avenue West, Suite 415 North
Saint Paul, MN 55114

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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