Issue Number 306            April 15, 2002


  1. CDC publishes new influenza vaccination recommendations
  2. Si, si! Agencies launch Spanish-language campaign during National Infant Immunization Week
  3. New Hampshire adds varicella vaccination requirement and moves up measles from 7th grade to kindergarten
  4. Submit abstracts soon for Hepatitis Coordinators Conference in January 2003
  5. CDC reports on polio reduction in Egypt
  6. Watch your inbox Wednesday for important new article by Dr. Paul Offit on vaccines and autism


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April 15, 2002

On April 12, 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the 24-page "Prevention and Control of Influenza: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)" in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Recommendations and Reports Series (vol. 51, no. RR-3). A new influenza vaccine Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) will be forthcoming within the next two months.

These new influenza recommendations arrive just in time for clinicians to plan ahead and order vaccine for the 2002-2003 flu season. For those who are unable to access the full MMWR RR-3, we are excerpting from two parts here: text from the Introduction that says who should be vaccinated against influenza, and a list of the primary changes to the previous recommendations.

First, the Introduction reads in part as follows (footnotes excluded):


Influenza vaccination is the primary method for preventing influenza and its severe complications. In this report from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the primary target groups recommended for annual vaccination are 1) groups who are at increased risk for influenza-related complications (e.g., persons aged >65 years and persons of any age with certain chronic medical conditions); 2) persons aged 50-64 years, because this  group has an elevated prevalence of certain chronic medical conditions; and 3) persons who live with or care for persons at high risk (e.g., health- care workers and household members who have frequent contact with persons at high risk and can transmit influenza to persons at high risk).

Vaccination is associated with reductions in influenza-related respiratory illness and physician visits among all age groups, hospitalization and death among persons at high risk, otitis media among  children, and work absenteeism among adults. Although influenza vaccination levels increased substantially during the 1990s, further improvements in vaccine coverage levels are needed, chiefly among persons aged <65 years at high risk. The ACIP recommends using strategies to improve vaccination levels, including using reminder/recall systems and standing orders programs.


Second, following is the entire section titled "Primary Changes and Updates in the Recommendations":


The 2002 recommendations include five principal changes or updates, as follows:

  1. The optimal time to receive influenza vaccine is during October and November. However, because of vaccine distribution delays during the past 2 years, ACIP recommends that vaccination efforts in October focus on persons at greatest risk for influenza-related complications and health-care  workers and that vaccination of other groups begin in November.
  2. Vaccination efforts for all groups should continue into December and later, for as long as vaccine is available.
  3. Because young, otherwise healthy children are at increased risk for influenza-related hospitalization, influenza vaccination of healthy children aged 6-23 months is encouraged when feasible. Vaccination of children aged >6 months who have certain medical conditions continues to be strongly recommended.
  4. The 2002-2003 trivalent vaccine virus strains are A/Moscow/10/99 (H3N2)-like, A/New  Caledonia/20/99 (H1N1)-like, and B/Hong Kong/330/2001-like strains.
  5. A limited amount of influenza vaccine with reduced thimerosal content will be available for the 2002-2003 influenza season.


To obtain the complete text of the Report online, go to:

To obtain a camera-ready (PDF format) copy of the Report, go to:

To obtain a free electronic subscription to the "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report" (MMWR), visit CDC's MMWR website at: Select "Free MMWR Subscription" from the menu at the left of the screen. Once you have submitted the required information, weekly issues of the MMWR and all new ACIP statements (published as MMWR's "Recommendations and Reports") will arrive automatically by email.

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April 15, 2002

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will promote higher immunization coverage among Hispanic children with a new Spanish-language TV public service announcement and a new radio news release, both of which will debut during National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) April 14-20, 2002. Albuquerque, New Mexico, will be among the first U.S. cities to see and hear the new Spanish immunization-campaign materials. Dr. Walter Orenstein, Director of CDC's National Immunization Program, will appear in Albuquerque on April 15 and 16 to participate in local NIIW activities.

The content of the new campaign materials came out of recent focus group discussions with Hispanic mothers aged 18 to 24 years in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Milwaukee. Featuring the theme "A Promise," the materials are designed to build feelings of trust, confidence, and empowerment in young parents, as well as to address barriers that Hispanic parents may face when seeking immunization services and information. The key message is: "Promise your children love and protection, and to vaccinate them!"

Additional input from health care providers who serve the Hispanic community led to the design of a poster and a "passport-like" booklet that provides an easy way to maintain childhood immunization records. The National Immunization Program will be distributing these new materials through state and local immunization programs and Latino community-based organizations. Order forms will also be available at the upcoming National Immunization Conference in Denver, April 29-May 2, 2002.

To obtain a copy of the Spanish-language immunization-campaign poster, go to:

For further information, contact Curtis Allen, Project Officer, CDC National Immunization Program, at 404-639-8487 or

For more information and materials related to NIIW, go to:


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April 15, 2002

Effective January 2003, children 12 months and older in New Hampshire must show documentation of  receipt of one dose of varicella vaccine before attending daycare. Children entering kindergarten or,  where kindergarten is not offered, first grade likewise must have been vaccinated against varicella starting with the 2003-2004 school year. Vaccination status for varicella will be checked once more prior to sixth-grade entrance. Natural immunity from disease will also be acceptable.

Formerly required for attendance in grades 7 through 12 in New Hampshire, proof of two doses of measles vaccine will be needed starting with the 2002-2003 season for kindergartners or, where kindergarten is not offered, first-graders. Those in grades 7-12 must still show complete measles vaccination documentation.

IAC tracks these and other state-by-state mandates regarding immunization on our website at:

Please be sure to let us know of any new immunization laws in your state. Although we follow state activities, we also rely on readers to keep us informed. Send emails with your updates to


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April 15, 2002

The Hepatitis Coordinators Conference, to be held January 27-30, 2003, in San Antonio, Texas, will be organized around topic categories that touch on viral hepatitis prevention, treatment, counseling, and testing.

Conference planners are now seeking abstracts for presentations and workshops that "demonstrate effective implementation of programs" in one of the five categories listed in the official Call for Abstracts.  These categories are, briefly, special populations; program administration issues; working in health- elated settings; surveillance; and outreach.

The deadline for abstract submission for the Conference is May 31, 2002.

To obtain a copy of the Call for Abstracts and the Abstract Format instructions, go to:

For more information on the Hepatitis Coordinators Conference as it becomes available, visit IAC's Calendar of Events page at:

You may also direct questions to Valerie Curry, CDC Division of Viral Hepatitis, by email at


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April 15, 2002

On April 12, 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published "Progress Toward Poliomyelitis Eradication--Egypt, 2001" in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). According to the article, polio remains endemic in Egypt and four other countries in the 22-country Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR).

The editorial note to the article states: "The conditions that contributed to intense transmission, such as extremely high population density and poor sanitation, still exist and pose important challenges to disease eradication efforts. To interrupt transmission, it is essential to sustain high-quality surveillance  and conduct well-organized vaccination activities."

To obtain the complete text of the article online, go to:

To obtain a camera-ready (PDF format) copy of the Report, go to:

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April 15, 2002

On the eve of British physician Andrew Wakefield's speaking tour in America on the topic of MMR vaccine as a hypothetical cause of autism, Dr. Paul Offit, Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), has written an article that refutes Wakefield's claims.

Dr. Offit's article summarizes major research demonstrating that MMR vaccine does not cause autism  as well as promising research on actual causes of autism that must not be sidetracked by continued  pursuit of false targets. On Wednesday, IAC will send out a Double Express containing Dr. Offit's article in its entirety. 

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.

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