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Vaccination News, Educational Opportunities, & Vaccine Resources


Immunization News
  • Baker-Polito Administration Provides Update on Pfizer COVID-19 Booster Availability
Educational Opportunities
  • NEW:  What Clinicians Need to Know about the Recent Updates to CDC's Recommendations for COVID-19 Boosters
  • NEW: Addressing Influenza and COVID-19 Immunization Health Inequities
  • NFID Clinical Vaccinology Course (Virtual)
Immunization Resources
  • NEW: Weekly MDPH Influenza News Influenza Activity in the U.S.
  • Link to Most Recent Immunization MMWRs 

Dear coalition members, 
 

I hope everyone is doing well.  Below is a compilation of recent news, educational opportunities, and resources for adult vaccination.  Don't forget, our colleagues at the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics are hosting the 26th Annual MIAP Pediatric Immunization Conference on Thursday, October 28, 2021.  Please visit the conference website for more information.  

If you have an additional news, an educational opportunity, or resource you'd like to see on this list, or if you have a question, please reach out to me at amy_sgueglia@jsi.com.  Looking for a back issue of these emails?  These emails are being archived on the Massachusetts Adult Immunization Coalition Website.  

Take care, 

Amy Sgueglia
Coalition Facilitator
 


IMMUNIZATION NEWS

 
 Baker-Polito Administration Provides Update on Pfizer COVID-19 Booster Availability
 
Today the Baker-Polito Administration announced how eligible Massachusetts residents initially can access Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots.  In accordance with updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Pfizer COVID-19 Booster is now available to individuals 65 years of age and older, individuals 18-64 years of age at risk for severe COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions, and individuals 18-64 years of age who are at increased risk for COVID-19 because of occupational or institutional settings who have previously received the Pfizer vaccine. These residents are eligible to receive their Pfizer booster shot at least 6 months after their second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
 
Pfizer COVID-19 Booster shots are now available for:
  • Individuals 65 years of age and older.
  • Individuals 18-64 years of age at risk for severe COVID-19 due to certain underlying medical conditions as defined by the CDC.
  • Individuals 18-64 years of age who are at increased risk for COVID-19 because of occupational or institutional settings.
To view more information from the CDC, please click here.
 
“The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and getting vaccinated remains the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “The Baker-Polito Administration has been working with pharmacies, local boards of health and other health care providers to ensure eligible residents will be able to access the Pfizer booster vaccines at hundreds of locations across the Commonwealth. If you have questions about whether getting the booster is right for you, we encourage you to contact your healthcare provider.”
 
Massachusetts residents will be able to receive Pfizer COVID-19 booster doses from more than 460 locations, including over 450 retail pharmacies, with some appointments available now for booking. Additional appointments are expected to come online in the coming days.  Additionally, the Administration is finalizing plans with other health care providers, including some Regional Collaboratives and local boards of health and mobile providers for Massachusetts residents to receive their Pfizer COVID-19 booster; these sites are expected to open during October. The Administration has been engaging with these partners, including local boards of health, community health centers, and Regional Collaboratives, over the last several weeks to encourage their participation in the booster rollout.
 
Initially, approximately 600,000 residents are eligible for Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots under these federal eligibility criteria. The Commonwealth expects to have capacity to administer over 300,000 Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots per week by mid-October.
 
If you are eligible, here are the steps to find a convenient location for getting a Pfizer COVID-19 Booster:
  1. Visit the Vaxfinder tool at vaxfinder.mass.gov for a full list of hundreds of locations to receive a booster. Residents will be able to narrow results to search for locations that are offering boosters, with some appointments available now for booking. Additional appointments are expected to come online in the coming days.  Many locations will be booking appointments out weeks in advance.
  2. For individuals who are unable to use Vaxfinder, or have difficulty accessing the internet, the COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Line (Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday 9AM-2PM) by calling 2-1-1 and following the prompts is available for assistance. The COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Line is available in English and Spanish and has translators available to in approximately 100 additional languages.
To protect the health and safety of all long-term care residents from COVID-19, all Massachusetts long term care facilities, including the two Soldiers’ Homes have been prioritized for Pfizer booster shots. The Department of Public Health has been working with long-term care facilities and their pharmacy partners to ensure residents and staff receive Pfizer COVID-19 booster doses onsite.
 
Vaccines are widely available across the Commonwealth. Getting vaccinated remains the most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves, their families, and their community. Fully vaccinated residents should receive a COVID-19 booster shot when they are eligible and as vaccines are authorized by the CDC.
 
The COVID-19 booster is safe, effective, and free. Individuals do not need an ID or health insurance to access a booster and do not need to show a vaccine card when getting a booster.  Additional information on the COVID-booster, including FAQs, can be found at Mass.gov/COVID19booster.
 
Individuals can check if they are eligible for a booster using the eligibility tool at mass.gov/BoosterCheck.
As more information becomes available on booster vaccines for individuals who have received either the Moderna or Johnson and Johnson vaccine, the Administration will provide updated information.
 
Massachusetts leads the nation in vaccine administration, with over 99% of the 65 and older population having received at least one dose. Over 4.6 million individuals are fully vaccinated, with almost 90% of all adults having at least one dose.
 
 

   

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
 

Title:  CDC COCA Call:  What Clinicians Need to Know about the Recent Updates to CDC's Recommendations for COVID-19 Boosters

Date:  Tuesday, October 26, 2021, 2-3pm ET

This COCA Call will provide an overview of the most recent recommendations for administering COVID-19 booster vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will provide updates about the latest recommendations and clinical considerations for administering COVID-19 boosters.

No registration is necessary, but additional details can be found here.  
 


Title: Addressing Influenza and COVID-19 Immunization Health Inequities

Date: Monday, November 15, 2021, 9:00 AM ET-10:00 AM ET

Influenza immunization rates have historically been well below Healthy People 2020 goals. COVID-19 vaccine coverage rates have reached historical highs compared with other adult immunizations, however, vaccine coverage rates still need to increase to help better control the spread of COVID. Inequities persist in both influenza and COVID-19 vaccination rates across different population groups. Providers require the most current information available on these inequities, and the social determinants of health that cause them. This webcast will review inequities in influenza and COVID-19 immunizations and how providers and public health advocates can address these inequities in their practices and programs.  
 
 
Title: NFID Clinical Vaccinology Course (Virtual)

Date: November 15, 2021, 10:45 AM ET - 5:00 PM ET
          November 16, 2021, 11:00 AM - 4:30 PM ET
          November 17, 2021, 10:45 AM ET - 3:30 PM ET

Led by expert speakers, the interactive, virtual Clinical Vaccinology Course (CVC) will focus on new developments and issues related to the use of vaccines including the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination recommendations, practical strategies for ensuring timely immunization, and the ongoing impact and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

View the agenda for the virtual program scheduled for November 15-17, 2021

Registration includes:
  • Actionable strategies to move from vaccine recommendation to implementation
  • Engaging and fun Jeopard-ID game
  • Live panel discussion on communication strategies to improve vaccine confidence
  • Opportunities for Interaction between attendees and faculty
  • Presentations on rapid response during a pandemic
  • Sessions on vaccine safety
  • Customizable resources and communication templates
  • Unlimited access to recorded sessions until December 31, 2021
  • Up to 13.5 hours of continuing education credits
 
  
 


IMMUNIZATION RESOURCES

 
Weekly MDPH Influenza News - 10/15/2021

Influenza Activity in the U.S. 

Key Points:

• An annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect against flu and its potentially serious complications.
• Influenza vaccine can be given at the same time as COVID-19 vaccine.
• CDC recommends everyone 6 months or older get a flu vaccine by the end of October.
• There also are flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat flu illness.

National Influenza Activity:
According to this week’s FluView report, seasonal influenza activity in the United States remains low.

Below is a summary of the key influenza indicators for the week ending October 9, 2021:

Viral Surveillance - Clinical Lab: The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza at clinical laboratories is 0.1% this week.

Viral Surveillance - Public Health Lab: At this time, few specimens have tested positive.

Virus Characterization: Influenza virus characterization information will be reported later this season.

Outpatient Illness: The percentage of patient visits to a health care provider for Influenza-like illness (ILI) in week 40 was 1.9% which is below baseline.

Outpatient Illness: ILINet Activity Map During week 40, 1 jurisdiction experienced high or very high activity and 1 jurisdiction experience moderate activity.

Influenza-associated Hospitalizations: FluSurv-NET sites will update their hospitalization rates starting later this season.

NCHS Mortality: 18.0% of deaths were attributed to pneumonia, influenza, or COVID 19 (PIC ). This percentage is above the epidemic threshold of 5.7% for this week. Currently, the majority of PIC deaths are due to COVID-19. (NCHS:National Center for Health Statistics)

Influenza-associated Pediatric Deaths: No influenza-associated pediatric deaths during the 2021-2022 season have been reported to CDC.

Click for full CDC FluView

Influenza Activity in Massachusetts

Figure 1 shows that for MMWR week 40, the percent of ILI visits visits is higher than the three previous seasons in the same week. For more information, see CDC’s influenza surveillance website at
www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/fluactivitysurv.htm.



ILI Activity in Massachusetts by Region
Figure 4 shows the relative intensity of reported ILI activity in Massachusetts by region. Although regions may not all experience the same intensity of ILI at similar times, infections due to influenza can be found throughout Massachusetts during flu season. Figure 4 shows that all regions of Massachusetts are reporting minimal ILI activity.


For more information about flu, go to our Weekly Flu Report

Questions and Resources

MDPH Influenza Vaccine Guidelines and Tools. This webpage contains information about influenza vaccine and links to guidance about planning flu and other mass immunization campaigns, standing orders, screening forms, consent forms, and MDPH-specific vaccine management guidance.


https://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/vaccination/prepare-practice-tools.htm
This website helps professionals work with their patients and emphasizes the importance of your role in protecting the public against influenza each season. Your recommendation to your patients that they receive the influenza vaccine is critical and more effective in increasing acceptance of vaccination than any other influencing factor.

CDC Make a Strong Flu Vaccine Recommendation


CDC Digital Media Toolkit: 2021-22 Flu Season

Vaccine Ordering and Locating Clinics

Find your flu vaccine
A free online service where users can search for locations that offer immunizations.

Providers Wishing to Order Flu Vaccine for Private Purchase:
The national Influenza Vaccine Availability Tracking System (IVATS) assists providers wishing to privately purchase flu vaccine. IVATS identifies available doses of influenza vaccine by formulation and distributor/vendor throughout the season. 

For questions about influenza please call the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Immunization Program at 617-983-6800 or your local board of health.  

For questions about state-supplied influenza vaccine, please call the Vaccine Unit at 617-983-6828.

Joyce Cohen, MPH
Epidemiologist
Influenza Coordinator
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Phone: 617 983-6839
Fax: 617 983-6840
 
 

Link to most recent Immunization MMWRs

 
Click here to view all recent MMWRs!
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