Immunization Works January 2021

February 2, 2021: Content on this page kept for historical reasons.

Immunization Works Newsletter, January 2021 CDC

Top Stories

Vaccine 2D Barcode Scanning Implementation Toolkit: CDC’s Vaccine Two-Dimensional (2D) Barcodes Team at the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) has released a Vaccine 2D Barcode Scanning Implementation Toolkit. The toolkit includes resources and tools that support different aspects of implementing vaccine 2D barcode scanning. Applying the tools in this toolkit can replace time-intensive and error-prone manual entry of vaccine information, improve data accuracy, reinforce safe patient care, and ultimately increase the efficiency of the vaccination and documentation processes. Toolkit resources are available for various roles in ambulatory clinics, health care facilities, pharmacies, and health systems, and for different phases of implementation.

One-pagers describing vaccine 2D barcodes and the benefits of their use during routine and mass vaccinations pdf icon[1 page] are available on the Vaccine Two-Dimensional (2D) Barcodes web page.

Please share questions and feedback with the CDC Vaccine 2D Barcodes Team in the Immunization Information Systems Support Branch (IISSB) by emailing

New Immunization Resources Available: New immunization resources are available for teaching prelicensure nursing students. The simulation scenarios, case studies, and PowerPoint presentations were developed by the Immunization Resources for Undergraduate Nursing (IRUN) project through a cooperative agreement between CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) and the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR).

The teaching resources support the learning objectives in the Immunization Resources for Undergraduate Nursing (IRUN) Curriculum Framework: A Guide to Integrating Content in Prelicensure Nursing Practiceexternal icon. These framework objectives provide guidance for faculty on integrating immunization content into a curriculum, with a focus on entry-level learning for the prelicensure nursing student.

Visit www.IRUNursing.orgexternal icon to download free teaching resources and/or sign up to be notified when resources are added or updated. Additional resources will be released throughout 2021.

New CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Toolkits for CBOs and Essential Workers: COVID-19 vaccines will be available to essential workers and other community members soon. CDC has designed two toolkits to help build confidence in this new vaccine.

The toolkits will help community-based organizations (CBOs) and employers to educate community members and workers about COVID-19 vaccines, raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination, and address common questions and concerns.

The toolkits contain a variety of resources, including: key messages, an educational slide deck, FAQs, posters/flyers, newsletter content, a plain language vaccine factsheet (available in eight languages), template letters, social media content, and vaccination sticker templates.

Partners are encouraged to adapt the key messages to the language, tone, and format that will resonate with their members or constituents.  Partners may place their logo on materials that have a place for your logo, but please retain the CDC URL  (

CDC will continue to add more materials to this toolkit. Please check back frequently for updates.

COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Toolkit for Medical Centers, Clinics, and Clinicians: This new toolkit includes ready-made materials that can be used to build confidence in COVID-19 vaccination among healthcare teams and other staff. Materials include:

  • A guide for building vaccine confidence within health systems, medical offices, and clinics
  • Turnkey slide decks for immunization coordinators, healthcare teams, and other healthcare personnel, with information about COVID-19 vaccines and tips for building vaccine confidence and having effective vaccine conversations with patients
  • Posters, fact sheets, frequently asked questions, and social media messages
  • Printable buttons/stickers for staff to wear once they’ve been vaccinated
  • A video describing how ACIP makes recommendations and advises CDC on the use of vaccines in our country

COVID-19 Vaccine Web Pages for Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Vaccines: CDC has released web pages providing information on Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. The pages provide information on vaccine storage, handling, and administration, as well as useful tools for health care providers, such as prevaccination checklists, standing order templates, storage unit temperature tracking logs, and more. Also visit the general COVID-19 Vaccination page for overall COVID-19 vaccine clinical resources, including training, safety, and requirements for providers participating in the COVID-19 vaccination program.

COVID-19 Vaccine Web Pages: CDC also continues to  add vaccine-specific content to its extensive COVID-19 website. CDC’s new resources include information on vaccination planning and vaccine safety, as well as frequently asked questions. These resources are intended to build trust and confidence in future COVID-19 vaccines by clarifying how COVID-19 vaccine recommendations will be made and how the vaccines will be monitored for safety.

Look for frequent updates to this website and CDC’s Vaccines and Immunizations website as more information becomes available and as vaccines are authorized or approved and recommended for use in the United States. CDC is committed to ensuring jurisdictions and federal entities that will be receiving vaccine have the information and guidance needed to implement an effective COVID-19 vaccination program.


Weekly United States Influenza Surveillance Report: CDC’s Influenza Division compiles and analyzes information on influenza activity year-round in the United States. Influenza activity remains low in the United States; however, the first flu-related pediatric death of the 2020–2021 season was reported recently.

Flu Vaccination Coverage Estimates from the 2020–21 Season Show Widening Disparities: CDC released data on flu vaccination coverage during the 2020–2021 flu season, suggesting that many people remain unvaccinated. Notably, while less than half of children overall had been vaccinated, only a third of Black, non-Hispanic children were vaccinated, which is 11 percentage points lower than last season. If you have not yet gotten a flu vaccine, there’s still time.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)

Vaccination Coverage with Selected Vaccines and Exemption Rates among Children in Kindergarten—United States, 2019–20 School Year: State immunization programs conduct annual kindergarten vaccination assessments to monitor school-entry vaccination coverage with all state-required vaccines. For the 2019–20 school year, national coverage was approximately 95% for diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis; measles, mumps, and rubella; and varicella vaccines. The national exemption rate remained low at 2.5%. Disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to reduce vaccination coverage in the 2020–21 school year. Increased follow-up of undervaccinated students is needed from schools and immunization programs to maintain the high vaccination coverage necessary to protect students in preparation for returning to in-person learning. Read the full report in the January 22 MMWR.

Allergic Reactions Including Anaphylaxis After Receipt of the First Dose of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine—United States, December 21, 2020–January 10, 2021: During December 21, 2020–January 10, 2021, monitoring by the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System detected 10 cases of anaphylaxis after administration of a reported 4,041,396 first doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (2.5 cases per million doses administered). In nine cases, onset occurred within 15 minutes of vaccination. No anaphylaxis-related deaths were reported.

Locations administering COVID-19 vaccines should adhere to CDC guidance, including screening recipients for contraindications and precautions, having necessary supplies and staff members available to manage anaphylaxis, implementing recommended postvaccination observation periods, and immediately treating suspected anaphylaxis with intramuscular epinephrine injection. Read the full report in the January 22 MMWR.

Allergic Reactions Including Anaphylaxis After Receipt of the First Dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine—United States, December 14–23, 2020: During December 14–23, 2020, monitoring by the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System detected 21 cases of anaphylaxis after administration of a reported 1,893,360 first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (11.1 cases per million doses); 71% of these occurred within 15 minutes of vaccination. Locations administering COVID-19 vaccines should adhere to CDC guidance for their use, including screening recipients for contraindications and precautions, having the necessary supplies available to manage anaphylaxis, implementing the recommended postvaccination observation periods, and immediately treating suspected cases of anaphylaxis with intramuscular injection of epinephrine. Read the full report in the January 15 MMWR.

Resources and Information

“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.

Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (the Pink Book) 2020 Video Series: CDC is offering a series of one-hour, web-on-demand videos that provide an overview of vaccination principles, general best practices, immunization strategies, and specific information about vaccine-preventable diseases and the vaccines that prevent them. Each video includes updated information from recent Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meetings and votes. The series started July 1, 2020, and ended October 14, 2020. This year, because of limited staff availability during the ongoing COVID-19 response, the videos were prerecorded rather than live webinars. Visit the Pink Book video series web page for the videos and additional information. Continuing Education (CE) is available for each video.

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)external icon, 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. A certificate of completion and/or Continuing Education (CE) is available for those that complete the training.

Current Issues in Immunization Webinars (CIIW): The latest webinar on October 21, 2020, offered an update on the recommendations for the 2020–21 influenza season. The webinars, held several times during the year, are designed to provide clinicians with the most up-to-date information on immunization. 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 latest webinar, archived webinars, and additional information are available on the CIIW web page.

Vaccines for Children (VFC) Fact Sheet for Providers: CDC has posted a new VFC fact sheet pdf icon[1 page] for health care providers. This accompanies the updated VFC fact sheet for parents that was recently posted in English pdf icon[1 page] and Spanish pdf icon[1 page].

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 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.

Updated Infographic: HPV is the Best Protection Against 6 Types of Cancer: CDC has updated its “HPV iceberg” infographic to include the latest data about HPV cancers. Share it on social media or download pdf icon[1 page] and print it to post in provider offices.

CDC and Medscape: This special series of commentariesexternal icon, 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. 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.”

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 24–25, 2021, Atlanta, GA

Vaccine Summit Ohioexternal icon, March 1–3, 2021, Columbus, OH

Massachusetts Adult Immunization Conferenceexternal icon, April 13, 2021, Framingham, MA

North Dakota Immunization Conferenceexternal icon, June 22–23, 2021, Bismarck, ND

ACIP Meeting, June 23–24, 2021, Atlanta, GA

ACIP Meeting, October 20–21, 2021, Atlanta, GA

NCIRD Calendar of Events

Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) Calendarexternal icon

Page last reviewed: February 2, 2021