Issue 1,605: December 8, 2021
Top Stories

Immunize.org Pages and Handouts 
Vaccine Information Statements
Featured Resources
Notable Publications
Upcoming Events
Top Stories

CDC warns against Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, strengthens booster dose recommendation for all adults age 18 and older

On November 29, CDC strengthened its recommendation on COVID-19 booster doses to include all individuals age 18 and older. Individuals should get a booster dose at least 6 months after their second mRNA vaccination or at least 2 months after their initial Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine.

The emergence of the Omicron variant, which has been identified in several states and appears more likely than Delta to cause reinfection, underscores the importance of vaccination, boosters, and prevention efforts to protect against COVID-19. CDC recommends that everyone ages 5 and older should be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible and all fully vaccinated adults should receive a booster dose at the appropriate interval.

Part of the CDC news release from CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, appears below:

Early data from South Africa suggest increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant, and scientists in the United States and around the world are urgently examining vaccine effectiveness related to this variant. I strongly encourage the 47 million adults who are not yet vaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible and to vaccinate the children and teens in their families as well because strong immunity will likely prevent serious illness. I also want to encourage people to get a COVID-19 test if they are sick. Increased testing will help us identify Omicron quickly.

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IAC’s influenza resources and December 9 Influenza Vaccination Webinar for National Influenza Vaccination Week are more valuable than ever as vaccination rates lag

As part of National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), Immunize.org (IAC) will hold an interactive webinar addressing flu vaccination in December and beyond tomorrow, Thursday, December 9, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. (ET).

The objectives of the webinar are to:

  • Discuss CDC’s new influenza surveillance tool, the Weekly National Influenza (Flu) Vaccination Dashboard and review this season’s vaccination coverage to date
  • Describe the science of the safety and effectiveness of co-administering vaccines, featuring basic immunology you should understand to answer recipients’ questions confidently
  • Detail practical techniques for administering multiple shots to an adult, including how to deliver two vaccines in one deltoid, which vaccines should be given in separate limbs if possible, and use of the anterolateral thigh as an injection site

Webinar speakers will include:

  • JoEllen Wolicki, BSN, RN, nurse educator, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), CDC
  • Suchita Patel, DO, MPH, medical officer, NCIRD, CDC
  • Jason Goldman, MD, FACP, regent, American College of Physicians (ACP); ACP liaison to Advisory Community on Immunization Practices (ACIP)

Registration is open! This webinar is hosted by IAC with support from Sanofi Pasteur. 

National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), observed December 5–11 this year, was established by CDC in 2005 to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination activities throughout the holiday season and beyond. It's a great time to send reminder messages and vaccinate all those not yet protected for the coming viral season. Vaccination efforts should continue into the spring because influenza activity often does not peak until February.



Visit the NIVW website to access the 2021 NIVW Digital Media Toolkit and other resources to promote flu vaccination.

IAC is offering a limited supply of our popular “FLU VACCINE” buttons and stickers, in both English and Spanish, available at no charge for product or shipping, thanks to funding from Seqirus. Click here now to go directly to the order form.

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Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will require states to cover COVID-19 vaccine counseling for eligible children and youth

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it will require states to cover COVID-19 vaccine counseling visits in which healthcare providers talk to families about the importance of child vaccination. These visits can be federally matched at 100% for at least 1 year after the end of the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency. CMS will match COVID-19 vaccine counseling-only visits at the 100% federal match rate only when the counseling is provided to people younger than age 21 as part of the Medicaid Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit. 

CMS also issued a news alert encouraging those insured by Medicare who are fully vaccinated to get a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is free of charge.

Related Links 

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Influenza vaccination coverage trending far lower than last year across all ages; vaccinate now

Influenza Surveillance

For week 47, ending on November 27, CDC's Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report, FluView summary: Seasonal influenza activity in the United States remains low, but in recent weeks, the number of influenza virus detections reported by laboratories has increased, and the percent of outpatient visits for respiratory illness has trended upward.
 



Influenza Vaccination Dashboard
 
CDC's new Weekly Flu Vaccination Dashboard shares preliminary vaccination data, including key facts, such as:
  • Vaccination rate during pregnancy is 17 percentage points lower this season through October compared with last season (40.7% compared to 58.2%)
  • Among adults 18 and older surveyed November 4–8, 2021: 40.9% were vaccinated, 17.6% planned to be vaccinated, 15.1% were not sure, and 26.4% did not plan to be vaccinated
CDC recommends everyone age 6 months and older get an annual flu vaccine. Influenza and COVID-19 vaccines may be given at the same visit, if needed. COVID-19 vaccination alone provides no protection from influenza or any other respiratory virus. 

Vaccine Finder

If you don’t provide influenza vaccine at your site, please strongly recommend vaccination and refer people to sites that do vaccinate. Use VaccineFinder, a user-friendly website to help people of all ages find influenza, COVID-19, and other vaccines. Participating providers can update their vaccine inventory estimates on VaccineFinder. For questions or more information, contact vaccine@healthmap.org.

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"Influenza A(H3N2) Outbreak on a University Campus—Michigan, October–November 2021" published in MMWR Early Release 

CDC published Influenza A(H3N2) Outbreak on a University Campus—Michigan, October–November 2021 in a December 3 MMWR Early Release. A portion of the article appears below.

On November 10, 2021, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) was notified of a rapid increase in influenza A(H3N2) cases by the University Health Service (UHS) at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Because this outbreak represented some of the first substantial influenza activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, CDC, in collaboration with the university, MDHHS, and local partners conducted an investigation to characterize and help control the outbreak. Beginning August 1, 2021, persons with COVID-19–like or influenza-like illness evaluated at UHS received testing for SARS-CoV-2, influenza, and respiratory syncytial viruses by rapid multiplex molecular assay. During October 6–November 19, a total of 745 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases were identified....

The findings of this investigation highlight the importance of increasing vigilance for influenza disease this winter, as indicated in CDC’s Health Alert Network Health Advisory issued on November 24, 2021. Given the substantial impact of COVID-19 on health care systems, with a weekly rate of approximately 500 or more COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in Michigan during the week ending November 19, 2021, additional strategies to reduce influenza illness are important. 




Access the MMWR Early Release article in HTML or PDF.

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Please help! In just 3 minutes, your feedback can shape the future of the Immunize.org website.

We have just a few questions for you to help us improve your experience on the Immunize.org website. Please take 3 minutes to complete this Immunize.org website user experience survey.


 
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IAC's Influenza Vaccination Honor Roll for mandatory healthcare worker vaccination now features 1,159 organizations, including one new facility

There are now 1,159 organizations enrolled in IAC's Influenza Vaccination Honor Roll. The honor roll recognizes hospitals, long-term care facilities, medical practices, pharmacies, professional organizations, health departments, and other government entities that take a stand for patient safety by implementing mandatory influenza vaccination policies for healthcare personnel.

Since our progress report on November 10, one additional healthcare organization has been enrolled.

  • Sierra View Care Center, Baldwin Park, CA

To be included in the Influenza Vaccination Honor Roll, the institutional mandate you report must require influenza vaccination for all staff. Additionally, the application must describe measures to prevent transmission of influenza from unvaccinated personnel to patients (e.g., masking for the entire work shift, reassignment to non-patient-care duties, dismissal).

IAC urges qualifying healthcare organizations to complete the Application page.

Related Links

IAC Spotlight: Review of resources at Immunize.org focused on enhancing clinic and practice operations

In this week's IAC Spotlight, we summarize resources at Immunize.org that focus on enhancing clinic and practice operations.
         
Our Topic Index to our Clinic Tools main page is a one-stop source of practical information for vaccine providers. You will find "how-to" information about vaccinating in any setting.

Our Handouts for Patients and Staff main page leads to hundreds of free patient handouts and fact sheets for healthcare professionals. All items are ready to print, copy, and distribute widely.

Our Temperature Logs main page offers printable temperature logs to monitor freezers and refrigerators. This site also includes a troubleshooting record to document the occurrence and resolution of questionable or unacceptable vaccine storage events. 

Our Documenting Vaccination main page offers forms to document vaccination or declination of vaccination, as well as various forms and checklists useful to healthcare personnel. 

Our free downloadable book, Vaccinating Adults: A Step-by-Step Guide, is a "how to" guide that provides easy-to-use, practical information covering essential adult immunization activities.

Our Key Vaccination Resources for Healthcare Professionals offers a 5-page annotated list of resources for people who vaccinate or oversee vaccination clinics. The document lists foundational content with which every vaccinator should be familiar, supplemental content useful after completing foundational training, and additional tools to help providers grow in vaccination expertise.
   
Journalists interview IAC experts
 
Journalists seek out IAC experts to help explain vaccines to the public and policy makers. We help the media understand and communicate the complex work vaccinators do. Here is one of our recent citations. Related Link

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Vaccines in the news

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

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Immunize.org Pages and Handouts  
Recap: These updated IAC educational materials for clinicians were released during October and November

IAC Express regularly provides readers with information about IAC’s new and updated educational materials for healthcare professionals and handouts for patients. All IAC materials are free to distribute.
 
In case you missed them during recent weeks, updates were made to these helpful materials:

IAC’s Updated Materials for Clinicians IAC’s Updated Influenza Materials for Clinicians Related Links

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Vaccine Information Statements

Recap: These new VISs and VIS translations were released during October and November

IAC Express regularly provides readers with information about Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) and translations of VISs.
 
On October 15th, CDC released updated final versions of the Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Multi-vaccine Pediatric, and Rotavirus VISs. During October and November, IAC posted 47 translations of these VISs in the following languages and you can access up-to-date VIS translations on these pages:
Plus, two IAC handouts related to VISs were updated: Related Links

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Featured Resources

Updated! IAC’s “Ask the Experts: COVID-19” web page offers answers to questions about latest CDC recommendations for booster doses and vaccination of young children

On December 4, IAC again fully updated its Ask the Experts: COVID-19 web page to reflect the latest decisions of the ACIP and changes to CDC’s clinical considerations for the use of COVID-19 vaccines. “Ask the Experts” now includes these topics:
  • Who is eligible to receive a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
  • COVID-19 vaccination of children age 5 through 11 years
  • CDC Emergency Use Instructions (EUI) for certain recipients of vaccines not authorized by FDA
The Ask the Experts: COVID-19 web page is updated regularly as guidance changes and new vaccines are authorized.



IAC's Ask the Experts main page leads you to 29 distinct web pages on a variety of topics comprising a total of more than 1,000 common or challenging questions and answers (Q&As) about vaccines and their administration. IAC wishes to recognize its team of experts: Kelly L. Moore, MD, MPH and Carolyn Bridges, MD, FACP.

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Voices for Vaccines releases podcast on social media and misinformation 

Voices for Vaccines (VFV) has posted a new entry in its Vax Talk podcast series: Social Media and Misinformation featuring Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights’ Devin Burghart. A description from the VFV web page appears below.

It’s not shocking that social media spreads misinformation, but a new report from the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights just published a chilling report detailing how fertile social media platforms are for breeding vaccine misinformation. The problem is larger and more deeply entrenched than you might think, and the consequences are more alarming than many realize.



Voices for Vaccines is a national organization of parents and others dedicated to raising the level of the voices of immunization supporters. VFV invites everyone who values vaccines to become a member, use VFV tools in their own community, and get involved with VFV

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Get them while you can! IAC offers FREE “I Got My COVID-19 Vaccine” buttons and stickers in English and Spanish.
 
Anyone promoting COVID-19 vaccination can order IAC’s FREE “I Got My COVID-19 Vaccine” buttons and stickers, provided with support from CDC. Stickers and buttons in both Spanish and English remain available. Share them with patients, colleagues, and friends to show confidence in COVID-19 vaccination.   

Click the picture below to go directly to the order form.

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IAC's website "Mass-Vaccination-Resources.org" can help you excel; use resources for vaccinating children age 5 through 11 years against COVID-19

The Immunization Action Coalition’s website www.Mass-Vaccination-Resources.org assists you in finding ideas for developing your own high-volume clinics. Mass vaccination efforts are useful for influenza and COVID-19 vaccination.

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

More resources have been added, including:

In addition, IAC's on-demand full-length webinar (1 h. 46 min.) highlighting best practices and offering practical information, Mass Vaccination Clinics: Challenges and Best Practices, can be viewed on www.Mass-Vaccination-Resources.org.

The www.Mass-Vaccination-Resources.org website includes a Related Resources web page linking to three articles by IAC authors that appeared in Becker’s Hospital Review.

If you have a resource to suggest for the website, please send a message to info@mass-vaccination-resources.org.

The webinar and the website are supported by a medical education grant from Seqirus.

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Order IAC’s child, adult, and lifetime immunization record cards—wallet-sized, designed to last!

IAC's personal immunization record cards, printed on rip-proof, smudge-proof, water-proof paper are designed to last a lifetime. They’re sized to fit in a wallet when folded. The record cards are for you to give to your patients as a permanent personal vaccination record and are sold in boxes of 250.

Order Immunization Record Cards

Make bulk purchases and receive quantity discounts. For quotes on larger quantities or customizing, or to request sample cards, call 651-647-9009 or email admininfo@immunize.org.

Visit Shop IAC for additional items, including "Vaccines Save Lives" enamel pins, flu vaccine buttons, and a vaccine administration training video.

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Notable Publications
"COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage among Persons Experiencing Homelessness—Six U.S. Jurisdictions, December 2020–August 2021" published in MMWR 

On December 3, CDC published COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage among Persons Experiencing Homelessness—Six U.S. Jurisdictions, December 2020–August 2021 in MMWR. Part of the article appears below.

Through conversations with public health and housing assistance partners, CDC identified six urban public health jurisdictions with data on [COVID-19] vaccination coverage among persons … experiencing intermittent homelessness during December 13, 2020–August 31, 2021. ... Full COVID-19 vaccination coverage among persons experiencing homelessness ranged from 18.6% to 44.5% in the six jurisdictions compared with 43.6% to 59.8% in the general population in each jurisdiction or corresponding area. In each jurisdiction, full vaccination coverage among persons experiencing homelessness was substantially lower (11.2–37.2 percentage points) than that among the general population of the respective jurisdiction. ... Vaccine access for persons experiencing homelessness can be enhanced by using multiple strategies, including pop-up vaccination clinics in convenient locations, mobile clinics in partnership with trusted providers, and street outreach teams. 

Access the MMWR Early Release article in HTML or PDF.

Related Link

  • MMWR's main page provides access to MMWR Weekly and its companion publications

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Commentary on quality measures to drive improvements in immunization rates published in Population Health Management  

On November 29, Population Health Management published Commentary on “Using Quality Measures to Drive Improvements in Immunization Rates: Findings from a Real-World Evaluation from 3 U.S. Health Care Organizations.” The author was IAC's Angela K. Shen, ScD, MPH. Her commentary highlights two key findings: (1) implementation of adult measures is feasible and (2) measurement can lead to increased coverage rates, providing further evidence that these quality measures can be useful tools.

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Upcoming Events
Tomorrow! IAC webinar December 9 at 1:00 p.m. (ET): “Fight the Flu and COVID-19 Too: Influenza Vaccination in December and beyond and Practical Approaches to Coadministration of Vaccines in Adults”

In recognition of National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), Immunize.org (IAC) will hold an interactive webinar titled Fight the Flu and COVID-19 Too: Influenza Vaccination in December and beyond and Practical Approaches to Coadministration of Vaccines in Adults tomorrow, Thursday, December 9, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. (ET). Speakers include JoEllen Wolicki, BSN, RN, and Suchita Patel, DO, MPH, from CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases; and Dr. Jason Goldman, ACIP liaison representative of the American College of Physicians.

Register today

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Tomorrow! NFID offers webinar “Closing the Gap: Protecting Adults with Chronic Health Conditions” on December 9
 

The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) will offer a webinar titled Closing the Gap: Protecting Adults with Chronic Health Conditions from 12:00–1:00 p.m. (ET) tomorrow, Thursday, December 9. During this webinar, speakers will present results of the new national surveys conducted to better understand knowledge, attitudes, and practices toward flu vaccination as well as communication gaps between healthcare professionals and patients with chronic health conditions. NFID Medical Director William Schaffner, MD, will moderate the webinar with a panel discussion on strategies to improve flu vaccination rates among adults with chronic health conditions and tactics to narrow the existing communication gaps. Learning objectives include:
  • Understanding the existing gap in communications between patients and healthcare professionals
  • Implementing strategies to improve communications and increase flu vaccination rates among adults with chronic health conditions

Pre-registration is required.

Register for the webinar.
    

Virtual: Pfizer-BioNTech offers COVID-19 vaccination provider webinars to explain new recommendations and products

Pfizer-BioNTech will offer educational webinars, "Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Training and Education," for COVID-19 vaccination providers. The webinars will focus on new recommendations and products, including the “orange cap” formulation for children age 5 to 11 years and important differences between the current “purple cap” and forthcoming “gray cap” formulations for people age 12 and older. The dates and times are as follows:

To access current and future training sessions, please visit https://www.pfizermedicalinformation.com/en-us/medical-updates.

Related Links 

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For more upcoming events, visit our Calendar of Events.

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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. 1NH23IP922654 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
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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 Immunize.org and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC.IZ Express DisclaimerISSN 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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