National Influenza Vaccination Week: December 2-8

CDC Flu Blog-A-Thon
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National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is an awareness week focused on highlighting the importance of influenza vaccination. NIVW will be observed this year on December 2–8. This is a great time to vaccinate your patients who have not yet been protected against flu and to remind your patients who have not been vaccinated to be sure they get protected.

For millions of people every season, the flu means a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue, and miserable days spent in bed. Millions of people get sick, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu each year.

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against seasonal flu viruses. This season, CDC recommends that providers use any licensed, age-appropriate influenza vaccine (Inactivated influenza vaccines (IIV), Recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV), or live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV4)) with no preference expressed for one vaccine over another.

The 2018-2019 U.S. flu vaccines have been updated for this season. Learn more about the vaccine options available this season and Key Facts about Seasonal Flu Vaccine.



Influenza Season is Here; Resources to Help You Vaccinate Your Patients 

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Influenza season is now under way, and CDC has reported three influenza-associated pediatric deaths. One pediatric death occurred during the 2018–2019 season and two occurred during the 2017–2018 season. Last season, there was a record-setting number of pediatric deaths in the U.S. (185), so be sure to protect all your patients for whom vaccination is recommended. Check out the CDC Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report, FluView.

Following is a list of resources related to influenza disease and vaccination for healthcare professionals and the public:


New Influenza Webinar


Curious how your practice can boost influenza immunization uptake in your patient population?

Join AAFP for a free live webinar on the 2018-19 Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines Recommendations.

Webinar Registration (free)

Wednesday, September 19, 2018
12:00 – 1:00 PM CT

This webinar will focus on how family physicians and health care teams can implement updated recommendations for the 2018-19 influenza season. This webinar will also introduce evidence-based strategies and tactics to increase influenza rates for all persons, which will include a specific emphasis on patients 50 years and older and those patients with chronic diseases.

Moderated by family physicians Thomas Koinis, M.D. and Margot Savoy, M.D., this free webcast offers a review of primary updates to current influenza guidance and recommendations.

Supported through an unrestricted grant from Sanofi Pasteur.


Two Immunization Educational Opportunities for You


You are invited to attend two immunization educational opportunities:

Kansas Immunization Program’s Knowledge Injection Series (KIP-KIS): Influenza and Pneumonia Vaccines 2018-2019

  1. Webinar, Friday, Sept. 20 from noon to 1:00 p.m.
  2. To register,  reply to ahecpitt@kumc.edu with the information below completed.

______ Individual (single participant)

______ Organization (multiple participants from one organization)

Name of Organization/Individual:

Mailing Address:

Daytime Phone Number (required):

Email Address of Individual/Site Contact (required):

Fax Number:

Name of Site Contact Person (Only complete this field if registering as an organization):

HPV Vaccination Cancer Prevention Educational Event

  1. Educational event, Wednesday, October 17 from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m at KU School of Medicine-Wichita. Also Broadcast via webinar.i
  2. For details and registration: HPV Vaccination Cancer Prevention

There is no cost to attend either event, but registration is required. Contact the KU Medical Center’s Area Health Education Centers with questions: 620-235-4040.


New Influenza Vaccination Coding and Billing Webinars: Sept. 12-25


Sanofi Pasteur is now offering live influenza vaccination coding webinar events to assist you with billing accurately and appropriately this immunization season. This new program offers two viewing options across six live event dates. Registration is available at www.crackingthecodestraining.com

How to Code and Bill for Sanofi Pasteur Influenza Vaccinations for Patients of Any Age
  • 4 live event date options
How to Code and Bill for Sanofi Pasteur Influenza Vaccinations for Pediatric Patients
  • 2 live event date options

You may also view the program’s on-line modules, on demand, at your convenience, 24/7, and you’ll have access to the extensive library of coding and billing resources available on the resource page of the program, including state-specific Medicaid billing guidance.


CDC releases clinical guidance for providers during the Shingrix shortage

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In light of the current shortage of recombinant zoster vaccine (Shingrix; GSK), CDC has added the following Q&A to its “Frequently Asked Questions About Shingrix” web page:

Q: What is the clinical guidance during the Shingrix delay?

A: Shingrix is the preferred shingles vaccine. You and patients should make every effort to ensure that two doses are administered within the recommended interval. If more than 6 months have elapsed since the first dose, administer the second dose when possible. Do not restart the vaccine series, and do not substitute Zostavax (zoster vaccine live) for the second dose of Shingrix. If you are out of Shingrix and a patient needs a second dose, the Vaccine Finder may be helpful for patients to locate other providers that have Shingrix.

CDC still recommends Zostavax for healthy adults 60 years and older to prevent shingles. This shingles vaccine may be used in certain cases, such as when a person prefers Zostavax or requests immediate vaccination and Shingrix is unavailable. Patients who have received Zostavax are recommended to subsequently receive Shingrix. Age and time since receipt of Zostavax may be considered to determine when to vaccinate with Shingrix (minimum interval of 8 weeks).

New study finds prenatal maternal Tdap effective in preventing pertussis in infants

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The American Journal of Preventive Medicine published a study by Sylvia Becker-Dreps et al. titled Effectiveness of Prenatal Tetanus, Diphtheria, Acellular Pertussis Vaccination in the Prevention of Infant Pertussis in the U.S. The abstract is reprinted below.

It is recommended that all pregnant women in the U.S. receive tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis (Tdap) immunization to prevent infant pertussis. This study’s objective was to examine the clinical effectiveness of prenatal Tdap, and whether effectiveness varies by gestational age at immunization.

A nationwide cohort study of pregnant women with deliveries in 2010–2014 and their infants was performed. Commercial insurance claims data were analyzed in 2016–2017 to identify Tdap receipt by the pregnant women, and hospitalizations and outpatient visits for pertussis in their infants until the infants reached 18 months of age. Pertussis occurrence was compared between infants of mothers who received prenatal Tdap (overall and stratified by gestational age at administration) and infants of unvaccinated mothers.

There were 675,167 mother–infant pairs in the cohort. Among infants whose mothers received prenatal Tdap, the rate of pertussis was 43 percent lower (hazard ratio=0.57, 95% CI=0.35, 0.92) than infants whose mothers did not receive prenatal or postpartum Tdap; this reduction was consistent across pertussis definitions (hazard ratio for inpatient-only pertussis=0.32, 95% CI=0.11, 0.91). Pertussis rates were also lower for infants whose mothers received Tdap during the third trimester. Infants whose mothers received Tdap at <27 weeks of gestation did not experience reductions in pertussis rates (hazard ratio for pertussis=1.10, 95% CI=0.54, 2.25).

Infants of mothers who received prenatal Tdap experienced half the rate of pertussis as compared with infants of unimmunized mothers. These results do not provide evidence to support changing the currently recommended timing of Tdap administration in pregnancy.

Access the complete article:  Effectiveness of Prenatal Tetanus, Diphtheria, Acellular Pertussis Vaccination in the Prevention of Infant Pertussis in the U.S.


New! Vaccine Safety References page on VEC’s website

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The Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (VEC) recently added a new web section titled Vaccine Safety References. It is a listing of journal articles developed for those who may be asked to address these issues either with their patients or more formally, in court. The page is divided into the following topics:

  • Aluminum and vaccines
  • Autism and the MMR debate
  • Diabetes and vaccines
  • DNA and vaccines
  • Formaldehyde and vaccines
  • Multiple sclerosis and vaccines
  • Thimerosal (mercury) and vaccines
  • Too many vaccines, too soon
  • Vaccine ingredients

Check out the Vaccine Safety References web section on the VEC website.

CDC Reports Highest number of flu season Pediatric Deaths

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The CDC issued a news report stating that the total number of 172 pediatric deaths from influenza in the 2017–18 flu season is the highest on record, excluding pandemics. The first paragraph of the CDC report appears below.

The CDC is reporting an additional pediatric flu-related death this week, bringing the total number this season to 172. This number exceeds the 2012–2013 season, which previously set the record for the highest number of flu-related deaths in children reported during a single flu season (excluding pandemics). Approximately 80% of these deaths occurred in children who had not received a flu vaccination this season. CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. These deaths are a somber reminder of the importance of flu vaccination and the potential seriousness of flu. CDC experts have described the 2017–2018 season as a high severity season, with influenza-like-illness (ILI) remaining at or above baseline for 19 consecutive weeks, record-breaking flu hospitalization rates, and elevated pneumonia and influenza mortality for 16 weeks.

Access the full news release on the CDC website: CDC Reported Flu Deaths in Children Exceeds Seasonal High

CDC publishes QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Aged ≥60 Years Who Ever Had the Shingles Vaccine

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CDC published QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Aged ≥60 Years Who Ever Had the Shingles Vaccine, by Sex—National Health Interview Survey, 2008–2016 in the May 18 issue of MMWR. The summary paragraph is reprinted below.

The percentage of adults aged ≥60 years who ever had the shingles vaccine increased from 6.7% in 2008 to 33.4% in 2016. The percentage of men who had the vaccine increased from 4.9% to 31.2%, and the percentage of women who had the vaccine increased from 8.2% to 35.2%. For each year during 2008–2016, women were more likely than men to have had the shingles vaccine.