October 12, 2017

Announcement: 2018 Summit In-Person Meeting – L.J Tan

The 2018 Summit in-person meeting will be held in conjunction with the National Immunization Conference (NIC) in Atlanta, Georgia. The NIC will be May 15-17 and the Summit will be May 17–18. The overlap on May 17 is the result of moving featured adult immunization speakers who normally would have been part of the Summit to the last day of NIC. In this way, a participant in the Summit who is unable to attend the entire NIC will be able to hear these featured speakers on Thursday and then stay through Friday for the Summit’s regular workgroup meetings, influenza content (including the manufacturer updates), and awards luncheon. In addition, a networking poster session will occur on Thursday evening. It is important to note that an adult immunization track will be conducted throughout the NIC, and persons are encouraged to spend the entire week learning about immunizations at both the NIC and the Summit. However, those attending only the Summit should plan to arrive on the evening of May 16 and depart after 4 p.m. on May 18.

Influenza Surveillance Update – Alicia Budd (CDC)

Alicia reported that we are continuing to see low levels of influenza throughout the country. She provided highlights of the influenza surveillance report from week 39, ending on September 30, 2017.

The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza in clinical laboratories was 1.9%. Of these, 70.0% were influenza A viruses, which has been the most commonly detected virus throughout the summer. The majority of specimens tested at public health laboratories were influenza A(H3N2). Small numbers of influenza H1 and even smaller numbers of influenza B also have been detected. The majority of the influenza B specimens for which lineage information is available have been the B Yamagata strain.

Nationwide, influenza-like illness (ILI) activity was at 1.2%, below the national baseline of 2.2%.

Based on reports from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) surveillance system available for the week ending September 16, 5.4% of deaths were due to pneumonia and influenza (P&I). This percentage is below the epidemic threshold of 6.0% for the week.

One influenza-associated pediatric death was reported during week 39, although the death occurred in June. A total of 107 pediatric deaths have occurred during the 2016–2017 season. Of the 86 children for whom vaccination status was known, 24% were fully vaccinated. Ten children were not eligible for vaccination.

In terms of antigenic characterization, B Victoria is still occurring with small antigenic differences, but this is not new. From those occurring over the summer, about 72% of the B Victoria viruses are similar to the vaccine. Of the H3 samples over the summer, 97% of viruses are antigenically similar to the vaccine.

Since September 1, there have been 41cases of H3N2-v infections identified. All but one case occurred after exposure to swine at an agricultural fair in Maryland. The remaining case occurred after a fair in Michigan. Almost all cases were children. Two cases were hospitalized, but everyone is now recovering. There is no evidence of human-to-human transmission.

The October 6, 2017 MMWR provides additional detail about activity that occurred throughout the summer. In addition, the week 40 report will be posted on the influenza website. This will be the first report of the 2017–2018 influenza season.

Summary of 2017 NFID News Conference – Marla Dalton (NFID)

Marla provided an update on the annual influenza-pneumococcal press conference which was held on September 28 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The news conference, which is held in collaboration with CDC, serves as the official kickoff for influenza season each year and provides a forum to share public health priorities for the upcoming season. This year’s panelists included NFID Medical Director William Schaffner, MD (moderator) and former Secretary of HHS Tom Price, MD as the keynote speaker. Other panelists included Patsy Stinchfield, RN, MS, CPNP, CIC from Children’s Minnesota, and Kathy Neuzil, MD, MPH from the University of Maryland’s Center for Vaccine Development.

Panelists shared final data for the 2016–2017 influenza season and discussed the importance of protecting children from influenza. In addition, older adults should be protected from both influenza and pneumococcal disease.

The event generated interest and enthusiasm among both the media and the immunization community at large. Marla expressed how happy they were to have so many public health and medical patient advocacy groups attend onsite, as well as more than 250 participating via the webcast. There was robust media attendance, with more than 65 members of the press attending in person and onsite, which is a record for this event. To date, more than 150 print and online articles have mentioned the news conference, with a reach estimated at 1.84 billion. The majority of the coverage included a strong call to action for annual immunization of everyone age 6 months and older. An original AP article was picked up by more than 200 outlets, as well as articles in USA Today, Forbes, the Washington Post, and AARP. C-Span broadcast the entire press conference that evening. Even though Dr. Price resigned the following day, this had no impact on the quality or quantity of the strong coverage by healthcare reporters.

The panelists led by example and received their influenza shots on camera. More than 50 attendees were immunized at the onsite clinic conducted by MedStar Visiting Nurses Association. Marla offered special thanks to the many partners who participated in the surrounding social media activities. More than 2,300 tweets were posted using #FightFlu. The joint CDC-NFID Thunderclap reached more than 6.4 million people through 279 different accounts.

A recording of the conference, along with full transcript and supporting materials is available on the NFID website. Marla encouraged all organizations to participate in the Leading By Example campaign and submit photos of leaders being vaccinated against flu. These will be posted in the online photo gallery and other social media channels.

Marla thanked all partners for their support which contributed to the overall success of the event. She also noted that they are already beginning planning for next year.

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