This newsletter is meant to keep you up to date on issues related to vaccines quickly
and easily. We welcome your comments and questions; please email us at
VEC Announcements: Book winners and mobile app for
Congratulations to the following winners who completed our survey. Each will receive a copy
of Dr. Offit’s new book,
Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine:
- S. Sawula, Torrington, CT
- V. Rauer, Washington, DC
- R. Hertwig, Zirconia, NC
Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete our survey. Your responses were most
New mobile app for iPhones
The VEC’s new mobile app,
Vaccines on the Go: What You Should Know, is coming soon! Watch for a special email
News and Views: Vaccine lot recall, MERS-CoV update and
the influenza alphabet
Charlotte A. Moser, Assistant Director, and Paul A. Offit, Director, Vaccine Education Center
at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Vaccine lot recall
Merck recently recalled a single lot of the
Recombivax HB© hepatitis B vaccine; this version is the adult formulation in a 10
microgram per milliliter concentration.
The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), previously known as novel
coronavirus, continues to infect people in and around the Arabian Peninsula.
The influenza alphabet
The influenza story is always a bit confusing, but the current outbreaks of H3N2v in the
U.S. and H7N9 in Asia make things even more difficult.
In the Journals: Vaccines and GBS
Paul A. Offit, MD, Director, Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of
In 1976, fear of an impending influenza pandemic caused public health officials to launch a
vaccine program that eventually included 40 million Americans. The vaccine virus used, an H1N1
strain colloquially referred to as “swine flu” vaccine, was found in retrospective studies to be a
rare cause of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), a disease characterized by ascending paralysis.
Approximately, 1 of every 100,000 people inoculated with the pandemic influenza vaccine developed
GBS. This unfortunate association opened the door to the notion that other influenza vaccines — or
indeed any vaccine — could cause GBS.
In response to public concern about the association of vaccines and GBS, Roger Baxter and
colleagues at the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center examined the relationship between vaccines
and GBS in 415 patients hospitalized with the disease in Northern California between 1995 and 2006.
more about their findings»
Technically Speaking: The end of
hepatitis B transmission begins at birth
Deborah L. Wexler, MD, Executive Director, Immunization Action Coalition
Universal hepatitis B vaccination at birth is a major part of CDC’s Advisory Committee on
Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) 2005
strategy to eliminate hepatitis
B virus (HBV) transmission in the United States.
In 2011, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) echoed ACIP’s
recommendations in its
Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis.
HHS further recommended birth dose coverage as a standard of care and a national
In 2012, the National Quality Forum endorsed a new standard that calls for reporting “
Hepatitis B Coverage Among All Live Newborn Infants Prior to Hospital or Birthing
Yet, despite expert consensus on the importance of a hepatitis B vaccine birth dose, nearly
1 in 3 U.S. newborns leaves the hospital unprotected. As a result, approximately 800 U.S. newborns
become chronically infected each year because of perinatal exposure. These newborns would be
afforded a “safety net” if a birth dose was universally administered before hospital discharge.
out how the Immunization Action Coalition is responding»
From the Media — The importance of MMR vaccine
Despite the accumulation of scientific data against the MMR-autism theory, the retraction of
Andrew Wakefield’s paper that caused the fury, and the announcement that his study was likely
fraudulent, some parents continue to voice concerns about giving their children the MMR vaccine.
Recent stories in the news show why continuing to talk through these concerns with parents
is so important.
On the Calendar
Several state immunization meetings and the CDC’s Epidemiology and Prevention of
Vaccine-Preventable Diseases Continuing Education course have been added to the calendar.
a meeting near you»
On the Bookshelf: Polio Revisited
Paul A. Offit, Director, Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of
Dr. Offit recently reviewed Gareth Williams’ book,
Paralysed with Fear: The Story of Polio, in
The Lancet. We are pleased that you can
access the full review on the journal’s website.
Reference for the review: Offit PA. Polio Revisited. The Lancet. 2013. 381:1805-6.
Paralysed with Fear: The Story of Polio, written by Gareth Williams and published by
Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, pp. 336. ISBN 9781137299758.
The book is available from
Barnes and Noble Booksellers.
Resources: New vaccine summary sheets, updated acronyms and
abbreviations and HPV vaccination information
New vaccine summary sheets
The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) recently released a great series of photocopy-ready,
patient-friendly handouts related to the diseases that vaccines prevent. Twelve handouts relate to
childhood diseases and vaccines and eight are for teen and adult vaccinations. The sheets are
one-sided, short and non-medical while emphasizing the dangers of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Check them out or
download them today»
Updated acronyms and abbreviations
Have you ever had a new patient bring you an immunization record that has an unfamiliar
vaccine abbreviation? Or a patient from another country with an immunization record they brought
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains a list of acronyms and
abbreviations commonly used on immunization records for just these occasions. Recently updated, the
list is easily accessible from
this page of the
CDC’s website. The page also contains links to related information, such as translation of
foreign immunization records and the standardized list of abbreviations from the ACIP.
HPV vaccine information
The CDC has a
digital press kit
related to HPV vaccination. Some of the materials may be of use to healthcare providers:
- Quotes from CDC spokespeople
- Images with captions
- Audio and video clips
- Links to additional information
The materials can be used for media outreach, on websites, or with parents and