Immunization Works February 2020

February 26, 2020: Content on this page kept for historical reasons.


Immunization Works Newsletter - February 2020 - CDC

Top Stories

2020 Immunization Schedules: The child and adolescent immunization schedule and the adult immunization schedule are now available on the CDC website. Every year, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) develops recommendations for routine use of vaccines in children, adolescents, and adults. When adopted by the CDC director, these recommendations become official CDC/HHS policy.

CDC encourages organizations to syndicate content rather than copy a PDF version of the schedule onto their websites to share with visitors. Content syndication allows other organizations’ websites to mirror CDC web content, with automatic updates whenever changes are made on the CDC site. This helps ensure that all schedules are current across the Internet. See how to display the schedules on your site.

49th National Immunization Conference (NIC): The 49th NIC, “Immunization 2020: Protecting Our Communities Together,” will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, May 19–21, 2020. The NIC brings together around 1,500 local, state, federal, and private-sector immunization stakeholders and partners to explore science, policy, education, and planning issues related to immunization and vaccine-preventable diseases. The NIC mission is to offer information that will help participants provide comprehensive immunization services for all age groups. Conference participants will have an opportunity to learn innovative strategies for developing programs and policies and advancing science to promote immunization among all ages today for a healthy tomorrow.

Visit the conference registration site for meeting details, hotel information, session themes, and additional information.

If you have questions, please contact


Interim Estimates of 2019–20 Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness in the U.S., February 2020: CDC recently published new interim flu vaccine effectiveness (VE) estimates for the 2019–20 flu season. So far this season, flu vaccines are reducing doctor’s visits for flu illness by almost half (45%). This is consistent with estimates of flu vaccine effectiveness from previous flu seasons that ranged 40%–60% when flu vaccine viruses were similar to circulating influenza viruses. Vaccination is providing substantial protection (VE = 55%) for children who have been particularly hard hit by flu this season. In addition, VE was estimated to be 25% among adults 18–49 years old and 43% among adults age 50 years and older. CDC encourages flu vaccination for as long as flu viruses continue to circulate. For more information, view CDC’s spotlight article or the February 21 MMWR.

Influenza Activity Remains Elevated as the 2019–20 Flu Season Has Been Especially Rough on Children: Influenza activity remains high nationally. This is a bad season for children and young adults, who are experiencing a lot of flu illness and high rates of hospitalization. As of mid-February, the number of pediatric flu deaths is higher at this period of the flu season than at any time since reporting began in 2004–05, with the exception of the 2009 pandemic. While hospitalization rates for the U.S. population overall are not elevated, hospitalization rates among children and young adults are currently high for this point in the season. Overall this flu season, influenza B/Victoria and influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 viruses have been reported in approximately equal numbers, with continued increases in influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 viruses in recent weeks. For the latest information on national flu activity view the FluView, CDC’s weekly U.S. influenza surveillance report.


Licensure of a Diphtheria and Tetanus Toxoids and Acellular Pertussis, Inactivated Poliovirus, Haemophilus influenzae Type b Conjugate, and Hepatitis B Vaccine, and Guidance for Use in Infants: Combination vaccines merge equivalent component vaccines into a single product to prevent more than one disease. The use of combination vaccines can reduce the number of injections patients receive and improve vaccination coverage. ACIP has previously stated that the use of a combination vaccine generally is preferred over separate injections of the equivalent component vaccines. Considerations can include provider assessment, patient preference, and the potential for adverse events. Until 2018, there were two pentavalent combination vaccines licensed for use in the infant vaccine series: DTaP-HepB-IPV (Pediarix, GlaxoSmithKline) and DTaP-IPV/Hib (Pentacel, Sanofi Pasteur). In late 2018, a new hexavalent combination vaccine (DTaP-IPV-Hib-HepB) from the MCM Vaccine Company, a joint venture between Merck and Sanofi Pasteur, received FDA approval. Each dose of DTaP-IPV-Hib-HepB contains the same amount of diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and pertussis antigens (inactivated pertussis toxin [PT], filamentous hemagglutinin [FHA], pertactin, and fimbriae types 2 and 3) as does Pentacel. The poliovirus component of DTaP-IPV-Hib-HepB contains the same strains of inactivated poliovirus types 1, 2, and 3 as the poliovirus vaccine IPOL (Sanofi Pasteur), but in decreased amounts. The HIB component (Hib capsular polysaccharide polyribosyl-ribotol-phosphate [PRP] coupled to the outer membrane protein complex [OMP] of Neisseria meningitidis) is the same as that in PedvaxHIB (Merck), but in a decreased amount. The HepB component is the same as the pediatric formulation of Recombivax HB (Merck), but in an increased amount. The DTaP-IPV-Hib-HepB vaccine is a fully liquid formulation and requires no reconstitution. Read the February 7 MMWR for the full report.

Resources and Information

Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, 13th Edition (the Pink Book): Published by CDC, NCIRD, and the Public Health Foundation (PHF), the Pink Book provides health care professionals with the most comprehensive information available on vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases. The Pink Book is available for purchase from the PHF Learning Resource Center, and the chapters and appendices can be viewed or downloaded from the NCIRD vaccines site.

2019 Pink Book Webinar Series: This 2019 online series of 15 webinars, which concluded on September 25, 2019, provides an overview of vaccination principles, general recommendations, immunization strategies, and specific information about vaccine-preventable diseases and the vaccines that prevent them. Each webinar explored a chapter from the 13th edition of the Pink Book. The webinars can be viewed online at the Pink Book webinar web page. Continuing Education (CE) is available for each webinar.

“Keys to Storing and Handling Your Vaccine Supply” Video: Two of the most important safeguards for the nation’s vaccine supply are proper vaccine storage and handling. An updated web-on-demand video, titled “Keys to Storing and Handling Your Vaccine Supply,” is designed to decrease vaccine storage and handling errors by demonstrating recommended best practices and addressing frequently asked questions. Continuing Education (CE) is available.

Vaccine Administration e-Learn: An e-Learn on vaccine administration is now available. Proper vaccine administration is critical for ensuring that vaccines are both safe and effective. Vaccine administration errors happen more often than you might think. Of the average 36,000 reports received annually by the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), about 1,500 are directly related to administration error. Some of the most common vaccine administration errors include:

  • Not following the recommended immunization schedule
  • Administering improperly stored or expired vaccine and/or diluent
  • Administering the wrong vaccine—confusing look-alike or sound-alike vaccines such as DTaP/Tdap or administering products outside age indications

The e-Learn is a free, interactive, online educational program that serves as a useful introductory course or a great refresher on vaccine administration. The self-paced e-Learn provides comprehensive training, using videos, job aids, and other resources to accommodate a variety of learning styles, and offers a certificate of completion and/or Continuing Education (CE) for those that complete the training.

Updated Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit Now Available: The Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit has recently been updated. The toolkit is a comprehensive guide that reflects best practices for vaccine storage and handling from Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations, product information from vaccine manufacturers, and scientific studies. The toolkit has been updated to clarify language, including:

  • Beyond use date (BUD)
  • Routine maintenance for vaccine storage units
  • New definition added to the glossary

Current Issues in Immunization Webinars:These webinars are held several times during the year and are designed to provide clinicians with the most up-to-date information on immunizations. The webinars are live, one-hour events combining an online visual presentation with simultaneous audio via telephone conference call, along with a live question-and-answer session. Registration, Internet access, and a separate phone line are needed to participate. The next webinar is scheduled for March 18, 2020, and the topic will be the 2020 child and adolescent immunization schedule and the adult immunization schedule. View the webinar web page for registration information and the archived webinars.

You Call the Shots Modules:

You Call the Shots is a series of interactive, web-based training courses developed through the Project to Enhance Immunization Content in Nursing Education and Training. These courses are ideal for medical or nursing students, new vaccination providers, or seasoned health care providers seeking a review. The Pneumococcal and Hepatitis B modules have recently been updated. Please visit the You Call the Shots web page to view all the modules. Continuing Education (CE) is available for viewing a module and completing an evaluation.

New Handout: Talking to Pregnant Women about Vaccines: Vaccines are an important part of a healthy pregnancy and pregnant women may have questions about them. Addressing their questions and any concerns about vaccines–including side effects, safety, and vaccine effectiveness–in plain and understandable language is key. CDC created the Talking to Pregnant Women about Vaccines handout for prenatal care providers to help address commonly asked questions about vaccines during pregnancy.

New Free CE Activity: How to Foster a Culture of Immunization: Nurses and medical assistants play a key role in improving vaccine acceptance as they come in contact with parents throughout the office visit. CDC has launched a new, free Continuing Education (CE) activity titled “How Nurses and Medical Assistants can Foster a Culture of Immunization in the Practice.” The new CE activity teaches practical strategies to improve vaccination coverage in the practice, including how to deliver clear and concise vaccine recommendations and address parents’ frequently asked questions. Speakers include Virginia Chambers, director of the Medical Assisting program at Portland Community College, and Andrea Polkinghorn, enterprise immunization strategy leader at Sanford Health.

Redesigned HPV Vaccine Website for Health Care Professionals: As part of its effort to optimize digital content for use on multiple devices, CDC has redesigned the HPV vaccine website for health care professionals. The new website includes HPV cancer statistics, continuing education resources, tips for answering parents’ questions, and more. It also features a new page on HPV vaccine safety and effectiveness data, which outlines the key data that health care professionals need to know as they address questions from parents. Please share this new resource with colleagues or members of your health care professional association.

CDC and Medscape: This special series of commentaries, part of a collaboration between CDC and Medscape, is designed to deliver CDC’s authoritative guidance directly to Medscape’s physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other health care providers. In this series, CDC experts offer video commentaries on current topics important to practicing clinicians. NCIRD has contributed to a variety of commentaries. Check out the newest video titled “Updated Pneumococcal Vaccine Recommendations for Older Adults” to hear considerations for this shared clinical decision-making recommendation. You will need to sign up and log in as a member to view the commentaries and registration is free.

Immunization Resources: Various publications are available for ordering at CDC-INFO On Demand. You can search for immunization publications by using the “Programs” drop-down menu and selecting “Immunization and Vaccines,” or you can search by “Title.” The 2020 recommended immunization schedules will be available in early March.

CDC Job Openings:CDC is committed to recruiting and hiring qualified candidates for a wide range of immunization and other positions. Researchers, medical officers, epidemiologists, and other specialists are often needed to fill positions within CDC. For a current listing, including international opportunities, please visit CDC’s employment web page.

Calendar of Events

ACIP Meeting, February 26–27, 2020, Atlanta, GA

Annual Conference on Vaccinology Research (ACVR), National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), March 23–25, 2020, Washington, DC

Pink Book Training, Indiana Immunization Coalition and CDC, April 14–15, 2020, Plainfield, IN

27th Annual Arizona Immunization Conference, Arizona Department of Health Services, April 22–23, 2020, Phoenix, AZ

Northern Utah Immunization Coalition (NUIC) Annual Conference, April 23, 2020, Ogden, UT

National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit (NAIIS), May 18, 2020, Atlanta, GA

49th National Immunization Conference (NIC), May 19–21, 2020, Atlanta, GA

ACIP Meeting, June 24-25, 2020, Atlanta, GA

North Dakota Immunization Conference, North Dakota Department of Health, July 14–15, 2020, Bismarck, ND

American Immunization Registry Association (AIRA), August 11–13, 2020, Portland, OR

ACIP Meeting, October 28–29, 2020, Atlanta, GA

NCIRD Calendar of Events

Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) Calendar