Vaccine Advisory Committee – January 2018 Update

Hello Colleagues! Hope everyone is off to a happy and healthy 2018. I recently attended our January 2018 Vaccine Advisory Committee Meeting. With the knowledge that we are all busy docs with minimal extra time I provide a brief and to the point overview of topics for you to review. If you have questions please feel free to contact me or check out the VAC website which posts public minutes and forms that are useful to your clinical practice and management of infectious disease.

  1. The Department of Health is awarding two different awards for those who have demonstrated a commitment to the improvement of public health through immunizations. The first (see below) is the “Immunize Washington” award that is given to practices who have demonstrated certain levels of vaccination coverage in their patients. You can run a report on your own clinic on the link below. The second link is the CDC Childhood Immunization Champion award. Last year our very own Elias Kass was the winner of the CDC Childhood Immunization Champion award and the first ever ND to receive it! This is a great opportunity to nominate yourself or your colleagues to demonstrate NDs commitment to preventative medicine and public health!

  1. The Legislative session has started. It is a short session and much of it is focused on educational budgets. There are 3 new bills concerning vaccination that were proposed by Rep Shea of the 4th You can see information at Rep. Shea’s website here;

  1. We are working on finalizing the Certificate of Exemption for 2018-2019 school year
  2. Mumps Update; in 4th quarter on 2017 there were 18 cases reported to CDC. Recall that for every case reported the DOH and many possible cases that are investigated and all possible cases should be reported to DOH.
  3. Diphtheria- All Suspected cases of diphtheria should be reposted to DOH regardless of location on body (both respiratory and cutaneous cases). All cases of diphtheria in recent years were exposed during international travel. At one point 18,000 Americans died annually of Diphtheria and because of the DTaP/TDaP vaccine we now see 1 case or less in the US per year. Because they have been so few and far between there are not standard operating procedures for how these cases should be handled and the CDC is in the process of review and writing them for future cases.
  4. Flu update- We have seen primarily H3N2 influenza, mostly Influenza A this year although there has been a fair bit of Flu B as well. Current levels exceed epidemic thresholds. On average there are between 12,000-50,000 flu deaths per year in USA. Obviously, we have had some issues this year with the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine. The influenza vaccine is still thought to not only reduce influenza related deaths but also serious complications that have been a large burden on the hospital system. One thing we discussed at this month’s meeting is the confusion with multiple definitions of “effectiveness.” We are working on talking points for providers to help explain this to patients.

Please feel free to email me at or call me if you have specific questions about vaccinations or vaccine preventable disease.

Mary Koehnke ND, FABNP

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