January 28, 2005
CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE
- CDC announces two new strategies to promote continued
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January 28, 2005
CDC ANNOUNCES TWO NEW STRATEGIES TO PROMOTE CONTINUED INFLUENZA VACCINATION
On January 27, CDC issued a press release outlining new strategies to
promote continued influenza vaccination in the 2004-05 influenza season. The
press release is reprinted below in its entirety. Following the reprinted
press release is related information from the Association of State and
Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), CDC's Health Alert Network (HAN), and
a CDC press telebriefing.
January 27, 2005
For immediate release
CDC ANNOUNCES NEW STRATEGIES TO PROMOTE CONTINUED INFLUENZA VACCINATION
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today announced two
unprecedented strategies for use this season to help healthcare providers
continue efforts to vaccinate individuals at risk for the serious
complications of influenza. In addition, in areas where there are ample
supplies of influenza vaccine, CDC endorsed the efforts of state and local
health officials to broaden the groups of people recommended to receive
"Too many people who are at high risk for the serious complications of
influenza are not vaccinated and quite frankly that is just tragic," said
CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. "Influenza season has not peaked and
people can still benefit from vaccination. We're pulling out all the stops
and doing everything we can to see that those who need vaccine most get it."
First, CDC is immediately making available the remaining 3.1 million doses
of influenza vaccine in the federal government's emergency reserve to sanofi
pasteur (i.e., formerly Aventis Pasteur), which, in turn will market and
sell the vaccine to public and private providers. This strategy would allow
providers to order vaccine directly from sanofi pasteur or a vaccine
distributor, rather than working through state or local health departments.
Doses purchased in this way may be used in any person. A key feature of this
strategy is a vaccine "return policy," under which providers will be allowed
to return unused vaccine for a credit and will have financial responsibility
for return shipping costs only.
Second, CDC is taking steps for the remainder of this flu season to make
limited amounts of Vaccines for Children program (VFC) influenza vaccine
that currently exists within states available to state health departments
for non-VFC use where the demand for influenza vaccine among VFC-eligible
children has already been met. Typically, use of vaccine purchased under the
VFC program is limited to children 18 years of age and under that are
Medicaid eligible, uninsured (i.e., have no health insurance), or are
American Indian or Alaskan Native.
The two strategies only apply to the current influenza season and this
year's influenza vaccine.
In states where there is ample supply of influenza vaccine, CDC supports
those jurisdictions who wish to expand vaccination beyond groups routinely
recommended to receive vaccine. "While we continue to stress the importance
of high-priority groups receiving vaccine, we certainly don't want vaccine
to go unused," Dr. Gerberding said. "The return policy enables providers to
continue their influenza vaccination efforts without having to worry about
being responsible for the cost of unused vaccine."
Influenza activity in the United States had remained relatively low into
December but has been steadily increasing since mid-December. As of
mid-January, 24 states were reporting widespread or regional flu activity.
For more information on the 2004-2005 influenza season, visit:
To access the press release on the CDC website, go to:
ASTHO has developed a web page of information about states that have
recently relaxed their influenza vaccination eligibility requirements.
Titled States Relaxing Eligibility Requirements, the web page provides two
lists: (1) states that have expanded their influenza vaccination eligibility
requirements to include people 50 years of age and older and/or those in
close contact with high-priority individuals; and (2) states that have
lifted additional restrictions to their influenza vaccination eligibility
requirements. Users who click on a state name in either list are taken to
pertinent information on the website of the state's health department.
ASTHO updates the web page daily. To access it, click
On January 27, HAN issued an official CDC Health Update titled Revised
Interim Guidance for Late-Season Influenza Vaccination. To access it from
the HAN web section, click
CDC PRESS TELEBRIEFING
On January 27, CDC officials Dr. Julie Gerberding and Dr. Jeanne Santoli
held a press telebriefing announcing CDC's new influenza vaccination
strategies. To access the transcript of the telebriefing, go to: