Summit Call Recap – December 10, 2015
- Influenza Surveillance Update – Sophie Smith (CDC)
- NIVW Thunderclap – Ashley Brooks (CDC)
- Immunization Coverage Summary – Carolyn Bridges (CDC)
- Announcements – L.J Tan (IAC)
Summit Call Recap – December 17, 2015
- Influenza Surveillance Update – Sophie Smith (CDC)
- Vaccine Administration and Storage and Handling Resources – JoEllen Wolicki (CDC)
- IAC California Workshops to Improve Implementation of Standing Orders for Adult Vaccines Begin on January 19, 2016, with the First Stop in San Francisco
Information from CDC
- CDC/Influenza Division Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report and CDC Key Points
- CDC Published the Following Articles on Influenza During December
- Other CDC Flu Resources
- CDC Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) Information
- From the NFID! Extended Deadline for Poster Presentations: January 8, 2016
- NFID hosts “Vaccinations for Healthcare Professionals” Webinar on January 13 at Noon Eastern – CME Available
- IAC’s December 2015 Issue of Vaccinate Adults is Online
- When Not Mandatory, Many Resident Physicians Did Not Get Flu Vaccine
- Reminder – ACOG has a Monthly Influenza Newsletter
- TFAH Releases Latest Report – Outbreaks 2015: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases
- Families Fighting Flu Seeks Your Support
- Massachusetts House Advances Bill Authorizing Medical Assistants to Administer Vaccines
- Study Looks at Flu Vaccine Dosing in Children
- FDA: It’s Still Not Too Late to Get Influenza Vaccine
- Researchers Study Signals of Seasonal Influenza Severity Through Age Dynamics
- Flu Vaccine Supply Chain Changes Needed to Stop Shortages
- Swine Flu: New H1N1 Virus in Chinese Pigs has Potential to Cause Global Pandemic
- H5N6 Avian Flu: China Reports New Case, Patient in Critical Condition
- Research Suggests Path Toward Fewer Influenza Deaths in Nursing Homes
- Unusually Cold, Dry Weather Precedes High Pneumonia, Flu Mortality
- Summit Starts New Influenza Working Group in Response to Partner Requests
- Summit’s IVATS Program Is Now Live for 2015–2016 to Assist Providers Locate Influenza Vaccine
- Don’t Forget the Summit Awards in your Immunization Programmatic Planning this Fall
- Please Help the Summit, AIRA, and CDC Engage EHR Vendors in Immunization IT
- Three Slide Decks Available to Support New Standards for Adult Immunization Practice
- Every Child By Two (ECBT) Compiles Media Information on Its Website
- Summit Website Offers Wonderful Resources on Influenza Vaccination
SUMMIT CALL RECAP – DECEMBER 10, 2015
Influenza Surveillance Update – Sophie Smith (CDC)
Sophie provided a summary of the published reports for week 47, ending November 28, 2015. Influenza activity in the U.S. increased slightly during this week, but remained low overall.
CDC is now reporting separately on influenza specimens received from U.S. clinical laboratories and U.S. public health laboratories. For week 47, 1.5% of specimens submitted to clinical laboratories were positive for influenza. Of these, 60.2% were influenza A and 39.8% were influenza B. For public health laboratories, 13/481 (2.7%) specimens were positive, with 12 (92.3%) influenza A and 1 (7.7%) influenza B.
Sixty-two (62) influenza virus specimens have been characterized as of October 1. Of these, 18 were A(H1N1), 43 were A(H3N2), and 1 was influenza B. All 18 A(H1N1) viruses, all 43 A(H3N2) viruses, and 1 B Yamagata virus characterized were similar to the corollary components of the 2015–2016 Northern Hemisphere vaccine.
Since October 1, 11 influenza A(H1N1), 33 influenza A(H3N2), and 12 influenza B viruses have been tested for antiviral resistance. All 56 were sensitive to oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir.
Based on National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data available on December 3, 2015, 5.9% of deaths occurring during the week ending November 14 (week 45) were due to pneumonia and influenza (P&I.) (NCHS data has an approximate 2 week lag time for reporting.) This is below the epidemic threshold of 6.8% for week 45. Similarly, data from the 122 Cities Mortality Reporting System for week 47 indicate 6.1% of deaths were due to P&I. This is below the epidemic threshold of 6.5% for week 47.
No new influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported to CDC during week 47. A total of 2 influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported during the 2015–2016 season. Of these 2 deaths, 1 was not eligible for vaccination due to age, and 1 was unvaccinated.
During week 47, influenza-like Illness (ILI) activity levels, which are based on the percent of outpatient visits due to ILI, were at 1.9%, which is below the national baseline of 2.1% for the week.
On a regional level, outpatient visits for ILI ranged from 0.6% to 4.36% during week 47. Three public health regions (Regions 3, 4, and 6) reported outpatient visits for ILI to be at or above region-specific baseline levels. The geographic spread of influenza as assessed by state and territorial epidemiologists indicates the following levels of influenza activity during week 47:
- Widespread – Guam
- Regional – Puerto Rico
- Local – 7 states
- Sporadic – 38 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands
- No activity – 5 states
NIVW Thunderclap – Ashley Brooks (CDC)
Ashley provided a brief update about the very successful Thunderclap campaign, which took place on December 7 at 12 p.m. ET. Partners from around the country joined CDC in this online rally to share messages of support for influenza vaccination via Twitter or Facebook on the same day and time. The campaign’s goal of 100 supporters was achieved by more than double, with 201 supporters participating, and the social outreach for the effort was estimated to be 5,044,779 people. In the future, Ashley will share a report of any additional results with Summit partners.
Immunization Coverage Summary – Carolyn Bridges (CDC)
Carolyn provided an overview of the data which was just released for the annual influenza vaccination coverage for multiple populations. CDC estimates this coverage by utilizing data from several nationally representative surveys, including the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), the National Immunization Survey-Flu (NIS-Flu), and internet panel surveys of adults, health care personnel, and pregnant women.
The FluVaxView website provides vaccination coverage estimates for the 2014–2015 and previous influenza seasons. Updated coverage also is available for health care personnel and pregnant women. Key findings for each group are available on the associated webpages. Finally, the December 11 MMWR includes Update: Influenza Activity – United States, October 4-November 28, 2015.
L.J noted that we still have a long way to go in achieving desired influenza vaccination coverage rates among adults.
Announcements – L.J Tan (IAC)
- 2016 National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit – The annual Summit meeting is scheduled for May 10–12 at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta. Based on feedback from partners, an Influenza Vaccine Workgroup has now been established. Initially, the group plans to focus on appropriate vaccine administration and storage/handling, particularly for temporary offsite clinics. Watch the Summit website for registration details.
- National Immunization Conference – This conference will be held in Atlanta on September 13–16. Registration information will be posted on the NIC website as soon as it is available.
Next call – The next Summit call will be held on December 17, 2016.
SUMMIT CALL RECAP – DECEMBER 17, 2015
Influenza Surveillance Update – Sophie Smith (CDC)
Sophie provided a summary of the published reports for week 48, ending December 5, 2015. Influenza activity in the U.S. increased slightly during this week, but remains low.
CDC reports separately on influenza specimens received from U.S. clinical laboratories and U.S. public health laboratories. For week 48, 1.6% of specimens submitted to clinical laboratories were positive for influenza. Of these, 65.9% were influenza A and 31.1% were influenza B. For public health laboratories, 36/787 (4.6%) specimens were positive, with 23 (63.9%) influenza A and 13 (36.1%) influenza B.
Ninety-one (91) influenza virus specimens have been characterized as of October 1. Of these, 18 were A(H1N1), 57 were A(H3N2),), and 16 were influenza B. All 18 A(H1N1) viruses and all 57 A(H3N2) viruses were similar to their respective components of the 2015–2016 Northern Hemisphere vaccine. A subset of 23 H3N2 viruses also were antigenically characterized, with 22/23 (95.7%) being A/Switzerland/9715923/2013-like. Nine of the B viruses were of the B/Yamagata lineage, of which seven were B/Victoria.
Since October 1, 69 influenza A(H3N2) viruses have been tested for antiviral resistance. All 69 were sensitive to oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir.
Based on National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data available on November 25, 5.9% of deaths occurring during the week ending November 21 (week 46) were due to pneumonia and influenza (P&I.) (NCHS data has an approximate 2 week lag time for reporting.) This is below the epidemic threshold of 6.9% for week 46. Similarly, data from the 122 Cities Mortality Reporting System for week 48 indicate 6.1% of deaths were due to P&I. This is below the epidemic threshold of 6.6% for week 48.
Two (2) influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported to CDC during week 48. One death actually occurred during the 2014–2015 season, bringing that year’s total to 148. The second reported pediatric death occurred during week 48 (ending December 5) of the current season. This death was associated with an influenza B virus. A total of 3 influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported during the 2015–2016 season. Of these 3 deaths, 1 was not eligible for vaccination due to age, and 2 were unvaccinated. Two of these pediatric deaths involved children with underlying medical conditions.
During week 48, influenza-like Illness (ILI) activity levels, which are based on the percent of outpatient visits due to ILI, were at 1.8%, well below the baseline of 2.1% for the week.
On a regional level, outpatient visits for ILI ranged from 0.6% to 4.3% during week 48. Four public health regions (Regions 2, 3, 4, and 6) reported outpatient visits for ILI to be at or above region-specific baseline levels. The geographic spread of influenza as assessed by state and territorial epidemiologists indicates the following levels of influenza activity during week 48:
- Widespread – Guam
- Regional – Puerto Rico
- Local – 10 states
- Sporadic – 37 states and the Virgin Islands
- No activity – 3 states and the District of Columbia
Partners briefly discussed how the current season compares to the 2014–2015 season at this same time. Other than noting that this season appears to be off to a slower start, it’s too soon to speculate about how the severity between the two seasons will compare.
Vaccine Administration and Storage and Handling Resources – JoEllen Wolicki (CDC)
JoEllen provided information about a wide range of resources just released by CDC in conjunction with today’s MMWR article, Notes from the Field: Injection Safety and Vaccine Administration Errors at an Employee Influenza Vaccination Clinie – New Jersey 2015. The article discusses errors in injection practices, vaccine administration, and storage and handling at an influenza vaccination clinic in New Jersey. The New Jersey Department of Health (NJ DOH) was notified about these issues on September 30, and the article highlights the Department’s response.
In conjunction with this article, CDC and the NJ DOH have developed new materials and a new resource listing covering the areas in which the errors occurred. The materials include:
- Key Messages related to the MMWR article;
- “At a Glance” Resource Guide on vaccine administration and storage and handling;
- Sample tweets, as well as information available on the following Twitter accounts:
CDC hopes that Summit members will share this information widely with groups such as health care providers, businesses planning vaccination clinics, and companies that offer immunization services.
Dara Lieberman, with Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), announced that TFAH and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have just released the annual report, Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Disease. Among other state indicators, the report covers immunizations for children and for influenza.
IAC California Workshops to Improve Implementation of Standing Orders for Adult Vaccines Begin on January 19, 2016, with the First Stop in San Francisco
Please help IAC get the word out to California medical practices on the availability of a workshop to help them implement standing orders for adult vaccinations. This workshop is part of a national initiative to assist medical practices put standing orders into action. IAC is also delighted to announce that national immunization thought leaders, Drs. Sharon Humiston, Mark Sawyer, and others, will be presenting at the California workshops. As part of the initiative, IAC is offering a full year of free follow up support to medical practices that participate in the workshop and implement standing orders for adult vaccines.
Check the Take A Stand™ website to register for the workshops or to learn more about the initiative and see other workshop locations.
INFORMATION FROM CDC
CDC/Influenza Division Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report and CDC Key Points
NCHS mortality surveillance data for week 48 (ending December 5, 2015, but available on December 24) indicate 6.2% of deaths were due to pneumonia and influenza (P&I). This percentage is below the epidemic threshold of 7.1% for week 48. Region and state-specific data are available. During week 50, 6.3% of all deaths reported through the 122 Cities Mortality Reporting System were due to P&I. This percentage was below the epidemic threshold of 6.8% for week 50.
CDC has characterized 155 influenza viruses [34 A (H1N1)pdm09, 105 A (H3N2), and 16 influenza B viruses] collected by U.S. laboratories since October 1, 2015. All 105 H3N2 viruses were genetically sequenced, and all viruses belonged to genetic groups for which a majority of viruses antigenically characterized were similar to A/Switzerland/9715293/2013, the influenza A (H3N2) reference virus representing the 2015–2016 Northern Hemisphere vaccine component. A subset of 66 H3N2 viruses also were antigenically characterized; 65 of 66 (98.5%) H3N2 viruses were A/Switzerland/9715293/2013-like by HI testing or neutralization testing.
All 34 (100%) influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 viruses were antigenically characterized as A/California/7/2009-like, the influenza A (H1N1) component of the 2015–2016 Northern Hemisphere vaccine. All 9 (100%) B/Yamagata/16/88 lineage viruses were antigenically characterized as B/Phuket/3073/2013-like, which is included as an influenza B component of the 2015–2016 Northern Hemisphere trivalent and quadrivalent influenza vaccines.
One influenza-associated pediatric death was reported to CDC during week 50. This death was associated with an influenza A virus for which no subtyping was performed and occurred during week 50 (the week ending December 19, 2015). A total of four influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported during the 2015-2016 season. More detail is available on CDC’s Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality webpage.
The Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET) conducts all age population-based surveillance for laboratory-confirmed influenza-related hospitalizations in select counties in the Emerging Infections Program (EIP) states and Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Project (IHSP) states. FluSurv-NET estimated hospitalization rates will be updated weekly starting later this season.
Nationwide during week 50, 2.2% of patient visits reported through the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet) were due to influenza-like illness (ILI). This percentage is below the national baseline of 2.1%. ILI is defined as fever (temperature of 100°F [37.8°C] or greater), and cough and/or sore throat.
An Influenza Summary Update of the influenza activity reported by state and territorial epidemiologists, which indicates geographic spread of influenza viruses but does not measure the intensity of influenza activity, is available. This currently reflects data from December 19, 2015. Currently five states are reporting regional activity, and most other states are reporting local or sporadic activity.
CDC Influenza Division seasonal influenza key points for December 28, are now available, as is the FluView report for week 50, ending December 19. Archives of previous FluViews also may be found online.
CDC Published the Following Articles on Influenza During December
- Online report describing the 2014–2015 estimates of flu burden and burden averted by vaccination.
- Web spotlight article summarizing coverage estimates and burden estimates
- Three online reports on preliminary 2015–2016 influenza vaccine uptake estimates (in FluVaxView)
Other CDC Flu Resources
Healthcare providers play an important role during flu season. This guidance and information will assist healthcare providers and service organizations to plan and respond to seasonal flu.
CDC Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) Information
CDC Science Clips
Each week select science clips are shared with the public health community to enhance awareness of emerging scientific knowledge. The focus is applied public health research and prevention science that has the capacity to improve health now. Go to: www.cdc.gov/library/sciclips/issues/
CDC Emergency Response – CDC Response to 2014 Ebola in the United States and West Africa
- Sierra Leone Trial to Introduce a Vaccine against Ebola (STRIVE)
The College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS), University of Sierra Leone, the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS), and CDC are collaborating on a candidate Ebola vaccine trial in Sierra Leone.
- UPDATE: Case Counts
NEW: Evaluating and Managing Patients Exposed to Birds Infected with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) A (H5) Viruses HPAI H5 outbreak responders are being asked to self-observe for signs and symptoms consistent with influenza on a daily basis and to call their health department if they develop compatible illness. Health departments may ask responders to seek care and/or testing for influenza A virus infection, including testing for H5 virus. This link summarizes important clinical information related to HPAI H5 and CDC’s recommendations for patient evaluation, treatment, and testing.
Seasonal Influenza Information for Healthcare Professional
The CDC’s Long Term Care toolkit is also available at his website.
Recent COCA webinars/calls
How to Prevent and Control Pediatric Influenza
Date: Thursday, October 1, 2015
From the NFID! Extended Deadline for Poster Presentations: January 8, 2016
Don’t miss your chance to present the latest vaccine research and science at the 2016 Annual Conference on Vaccine Research (ACVR). Attendees include international scientists and researchers, healthcare professionals and trainees, vaccine manufacturers, and public health officials, all interested in the research and development of vaccines.
Don’t delay – submit your research today! Accepted submissions may also be considered for publication in Vaccine, the official journal of the Edward Jenner Society, The International Society for Vaccines, and the Japanese Society for Vaccinology.
NFID also welcomes submissions for the 2016 Maurice R. Hilleman Early-Stage Career Investigator Award. All individuals in the early stages of their careers in any field of vaccinology are encouraged to apply and are eligible for the prize, which includes $10,000* to sponsor future research. Learn more about the award and submit online. *Support is provided through an educational grant from Merck & Co., Inc. Don’t forget to register now and save up to $100 off your registration! Early bird discounts end on March 7, 2016.
NFID hosts “Vaccinations for Healthcare Professionals” Webinar on January 13 at Noon Eastern – CME Available
William L. Atkinson, MD, MPH, Associate Director for Immunization Education at the Immunization Action Coalition and Patricia (Patsy) A. Stinchfield, MS, CPNP, CIC, Director of Infection Prevention & Control at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, will discuss vaccinations for healthcare professionals. The presentation will focus on the importance of vaccines for healthcare professionals (HCPs) as well as communication strategies and tips.
At the conclusion of the webinar, participants will be able to:
- Identify vaccines recommended for HCPs by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
- Outline factors that influence acceptance of vaccines by HCPs and apply methods and strategies to approach HCPs with differing views on vaccines to improve uptake
- Describe the effectiveness of strategies to improve HCP uptake of vaccines in healthcare settings
The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. NFID designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Register now for this informative webinar.
IAC’s December 2015 Issue of Vaccinate Adults is Online
The December 2015 issue of Vaccinate Adults has just been placed online. Vaccinate Adults is an abbreviated version of Needle Tips with the pediatric content removed. You can download the entire issue (16-page, 5.1 MB PDF) or access the Table of Contents.
This issue features information on influenza and pneumococcal vaccination, as well as professional societies that support mandatory influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel. You’ll find new and updated vaccination resources for patients and staff, including standing orders templates, screening checklists, administration guides, and other ready-to-copy educational materials.
Also featured is the ever-popular Ask the Experts column from CDC medical officer Andrew T. Kroger, MD, MPH, and nurse educator Donna L. Weaver, RN, MN, both with the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Please forward this issue of Vaccinate Adults to your immunization colleagues and encourage them to subscribe to IAC’s free publications today.
When Not Mandatory, Many Resident Physicians Did Not Get Flu Vaccine
Making vaccinations available in training hospitals and at convenient locations and times that take into account varying resident physician (RP) work schedules were found to be the most cited motivating factors for future vaccination among non-vaccinated RPs. Simplifying the vaccination process, such as making mobile units available throughout the day, should be considered to save RPs’ time. Such measures are more likely to be effective when applied in a multi-faceted approach. In addition, instituting a mandatory influenza vaccine policy was felt to be a strong motivator for future vaccination by respondents in the study.
Reminder – ACOG has a Monthly Influenza Newsletter
ACOG’s Immunization team is excited to announce the creation of a monthly influenza newsletter that will run from October–early Spring 2016. The influenza newsletter will contain up to date information on this year’s flu season as well as links to pertinent flu resources from ACOG and immunization partners. The newsletter will be emailed to all ACOG members and archived on ACOG’s Immunization for Women website. We welcome suggestions for topics and resources to include in future newsletters.
TFAH Releases Latest Report – Outbreaks 2015: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases
Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) are pleased to announce the release of Outbreaks 2015: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases.
This year’s report finds the nation must redouble efforts to protect Americans from new infectious disease threats like MERS-CoV and antibiotic-resistant Superbugs and resurging illnesses like whooping cough, tuberculosis and measles.
Twenty-eight states and Washington, D.C. scored 5 or lower out of 10 key indicators related to preventing, detecting, diagnosing and responding to outbreaks. Five states – Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, New York and Virginia – tied for the top score, achieving eight out of 10 indicators. Seven states – Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah – tied for the lowest score at three out of 10. The indicators offer a composite snapshot of strengths and vulnerabilities across the health system, including healthcare-associated infections, childhood and flu vaccinations, hepatitis C and HIV prevention, food safety, and emerging threats.
Some key recommendations from the report include:
- Increasing resources to ensure every state can maintain and modernize basic capabilities – such as epidemiology and laboratory abilities – that are needed to respond to new and ongoing outbreaks;
- Updating disease surveillance so it is real-time and interoperable across communities and health systems to better detect, track and contain disease threats;
- Incentivizing the development of new medicines and vaccines and ensuring systems are in place to be able to effectively distribute them when needed;
- Decreasing antibiotic overuse and increasing vaccination rates;
- Improving and maintaining the ability of the health system to be prepared for a range of potential threats – such as an influx of patients during a widespread outbreak or the containment of a novel, highly infectious threat that requires specialty care;
- Strengthening efforts and policies to reduce healthcare-associated infections;
- Taking strong measures to contain the hepatitis C and HIV epidemics, particularly among young adults.
TFAH encourages you to explore the report, state-specific information, and policy recommendations. If you have any questions or wish to receive a detailed briefing on the report, please contact Dara Lieberman, TFAH’s Senior Government Relations Manager, at (202) 864-5942.
Families Fighting Flu Seeks Your Support
Families Fighting Flu must reach its $10,000 goal by December 31 in order to continue its current national educational campaign, “Stay in the Game,” informing parents and families that influenza is a dangerous and potentially deadly disease which can be prevented with annual vaccination. Donate now to support Families Fighting Flu’s educational campaigns to help prevent more children from dying of influenza and in memory of those who have died.
Massachusetts House Advances Bill Authorizing Medical Assistants to Administer Vaccines
In an effort to make immunizations more readily available and ease burdens on staff at busy health centers, the Massachusetts House this month advanced a bill authorizing medical assistants to give vaccines to patients.
Medical assistants perform medical and administrative tasks in clinical settings, including drawing blood, administering medication, conducting lab tests and changing dressings. They are trained to administer immunizations but state law doesn’t specifically authorize them to do so, according to Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing and a sponsor of the bill.
“This simple provision will allow primary care providers, particularly those practicing in community health centers, to more easily meet the demand for immunizations and free up these providers to see more patients and focus on more complex clinical care,” Sanchez, a Jamaica Plain Democrat, said in written testimony.
Study Looks at Flu Vaccine Dosing in Children
CDC recommends that children aged 6 months through 8 years of age get two doses of flu vaccine, at least one month apart, the first year they are vaccinated against flu. A study in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal looked at vaccination history and vaccine effectiveness data on patients 6 months to 8 years of age from clinics in five states that are part of the U.S. Flu VE Network during the 2011–2012 and 2012–2013 to find trends.
FDA: It’s Still Not Too Late to Get Influenza Vaccine
FDA is reminding the public that there is still time to get vaccinated with the seasonal influenza vaccine. Outbreaks of influenza may begin as early as October; however, influenza activity tends to peak in January and February, and cases can extend into May.
Researchers Study Signals of Seasonal Influenza Severity Through Age Dynamics
Measures of population-level influenza severity are important for public health planning, but estimates are often based on case-fatality and case-hospitalization risks, which require multiple data sources, are prone to surveillance biases, and are typically unavailable in the early stages of an outbreak. To address the limitations of traditional indicators, Lee, et al. propose a novel severity index based on influenza age dynamics estimated from routine physician diagnosis data that can be used retrospectively and for early warning. Additional information is available in Infection Control Today.
Flu Vaccine Supply Chain Changes Needed to Stop Shortages
Even pharmacies with abundant supplies could see a major shortage of flu shots due to late delivery, according to a recent paper published by Social Science Research Network. It is imperative to coordinate the influenza vaccine supply chain to avoid such shortages, but because no contract currently in play can fulfill this need, a change to the current business model is in order, the paper concluded. An additional story is available in the Pharmacy Times.
Swine Flu: New H1N1 Virus in Chinese Pigs has Potential to Cause Global Pandemic
A new strain of the H1N1 swine flu virus with the potential to “transmit efficiently in humans” and cause a pandemic has been discovered in China. Scientists isolated 139 H1N1 swine flu viruses in pigs in China and found they formed two groups distinct from the current human H1N1 virus.
The international team of researchers warned “immediate action” was required to prevent the transmission of this latest strain to humans. The findings, published in the journal PNAS, note how the biological properties of swine flus are largely unknown. Additional stories are available in the International Business Times and U.S. News and World Report.
H5N6 Avian Flu: China Reports New Case, Patient in Critical Condition
A woman in southern China was diagnosed with the H5N6 Avian Influenza virus and is in critical condition, Xinhua reported Wednesday. The flu was first reported in humans last May in southwestern China and, so far, four cases have been reported around the world, according to the state-run news agency.
Chinese officials reportedly said the case was an isolated one, much like the four reported before it, and authorities expect little risk of the flu spreading. The 26-year-old woman is admitted in a local hospital in the region, Xinhua reported, citing the Guangdong health department.
Research Suggests Path Toward Fewer Influenza Deaths in Nursing Homes
A study by researchers in Rhode Island and Ohio provides new evidence that well-matched flu vaccinations can save the lives of thousands of elderly residents of nursing homes and prevent thousands more hospitalizations. An additional article is available online.
Unusually Cold, Dry Weather Precedes High Pneumonia, Flu Mortality
Respiratory infections are more severe during periods of unusual cold or low humidity, even in a subtropical location with typically high humidity, according to a study published in Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses.
“Reasons for the seasonal pattern in influenza mortality remain unclear,” Robert E. Davis, PhD, professor at the University of Virginia’s department of environmental sciences, and colleagues wrote. “Recent research suggests a connection to weather, particularly cold and/or dry (low humidity) air. Possible explanations for this relationship include factors related to virus characteristics, drying of nasal mucous membranes, enhanced airborne transmission, and human behavioral factors.”
An abstract of the primary publication is available.
Summit Starts New Influenza Working Group in Response to Partner Requests
NAIIS is delighted that a working group on influenza has been started in response to interest from the partners. Amy Behrman and Kelly McKenna have kindly agreed to co-lead this working group for the Summit, along with Tom Fitzgerald from the CDC, and we encourage partners sign up to participate. Please email either L.J Tan or LaDora Woods with your name and email address, and we will connect you directly into the working group. Thanks to Amy and Kelly and Tom, and to the Summit partners for their interest.
Summit’s IVATS Program Is Now Live for 2015–2016 to Assist Providers Locate Influenza Vaccine
The Influenza Vaccine Availability Tracking System (IVATS) has been a staple of the Summit for several years. The 2015–2016 iteration is now live. Distributors are encouraged to submit their latest data via the IVATS submission form. Submission is entirely voluntary. Providers can use IVATS to locate influenza vaccine supply.
Don’t Forget the Summit Awards in your Immunization Programmatic Planning this Fall
The National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit (NAIIS) is soliciting candidates for the 2016 NAIIS Immunization Excellence Awards. The 2016 awards recognize individuals and organizations that have made extraordinary contributions toward improving vaccination rates within their communities during 2015. The awards focus on individuals and organizations that exemplify the meaning of the “immunization neighborhood” (collaboration, coordination, and communication among immunization stakeholders dedicated to meeting the immunization needs of the patient and protecting the community from vaccine-preventable diseases).
National Awards will be presented in the following categories: 1) Influenza Season Campaign (Laura Scott NAIIS Immunization Excellence Award for Outstanding Influenza Season Activities); 2) “Immunization Neighborhood” Champion; 3) Adult Immunization Champion; 4) Corporate Campaign; 5) Adult Immunization Publication Award. A National Winner will be selected for each award category, and, where appropriate, an Honorable Mention recipient.
Additional award to be presented: “Influencer Award” – Selected by the NAIIS Summit Organizing Committee to recognize an individual or organization in the media, legislature, or community whose activities, contributions and/or willingness to go above and beyond have advanced adult and/or influenza immunization implementation. There is no nomination application, but the Organizing Committee would be interested in receiving input on individuals or organizations to consider.
The winners will be presented with their awards at the National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit meeting (to be held in May 10–12, 2016, location TBD). The national winner in each category will be invited to present their programs at the National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit meeting. Submit nominations online by February 15, 2016.
Please Help the Summit, AIRA, and CDC Engage EHR Vendors in Immunization IT
The Summit has been active and interested in improving interoperability and utilization of EHRs and immunization information systems (IIS) for several years. Indeed, for the past two years, there has been a lot of prioritization of IIS and health information technology (HIT) activity within the Summit workgroups.
However, engagement by vendors of EHRs remains difficult. We hope that, with the Summit’s support, we can begin to change that in little steps. If you are connected with an EHR vendor, perhaps you can start by encouraging them to simply join in two activities in the IIS community that are not demanding on their time.
The first is the AIRA Standards & Interoperability Steering Committee (SISC). SISC provides technical support and guidance to interoperability efforts of AIRA members and the IIS community. They act as a liaison between national organizations involved with interoperability, such as the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) and others, and serve as a technical resource for AIRA members and the IIS community. SISC meets the 2nd Wednesday of every month from 1–2 pm ET. Participation of EHR, pharmacy, health information exchange (HIE), and other IIS partners trading perspectives is welcomed to help drive forward increased interoperability. For more information, please connect with Mary Beth Kurilo.
The second is the CDC Clinical Decision Support for Immunization (CDSi) project. This project provides a single, authoritative, implementation-neutral foundation for development and maintenance of CDS engines. It captures ACIP recommendations in an unambiguous manner and improves the uniform representation of vaccine decision guidelines, as well as the ability to automate vaccine evaluation and forecasting. Interested parties can reach out to Eric Larson.
Three Slide Decks Available to Support New Standards for Adult Immunization Practice
The Summit’s Access and Collaboration workgroup has developed three separate slide decks with talking notes to support partners and others who wish to present on the Standards to their peers and colleagues. The three audiences targeted by the decks are: healthcare providers; patients/public; and public health. These are now available, along with tips and tools on how to use them, at the Summit website.
Also do not forget that Medscape has produced two modules to support the implementation of the Standards:
Every Child By Two (ECBT) Compiles Media Information on Its Website
On a daily basis, ECBT assembles significant news media coverage on immunizations in their “Daily Clips.” Summit partners may find this effort useful.
Summit Website Offers Wonderful Resources on Influenza Vaccination
Remember to visit the Summit website for the latest on influenza immunization resources. You also can find archived copies of The Summit Buzz there.
Summit calls are now scheduled every Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern time, unless cancelled. The next call is scheduled for January 7, 2016. Please email L.J Tan or LaDora Woods if you have any updates on activities to provide to the Summit.