Monday, August 20th, 2012
August 15, 2012
TO: Health Care Providers, Hospitals, and Local Health Departments
FROM: New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Immunization
New York State Public Health Law (PHL) §2112 prohibits the administration of vaccines containing more than trace amounts of thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative, to children less than 3 years of age and women who know they are pregnant, with certain exceptions. This law requires that the Commissioner of Health make a yearly determination of the adequacy of the supply of influenza vaccine that contains not more than 1.25 micrograms of mercury per 0.50 milliliter dose for women who know they are pregnant and not more than 0.625 micrograms of mercury per 0.25 milliliter dose for children less than 3 years of age.
The Commissioner of Health has determined that, as of August 15, 2012, it appears that there will be an adequate supply of thimerosal-free seasonal influenza vaccine for vaccination of pregnant women and children under the age of three years. Therefore, health care providers (physicians, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, nurse midwives) providing influenza vaccinations to pregnant women and children under 3 years of age should purchase sufficient supplies of seasonal influenza vaccine to ensure vaccination compliance with PHL § 2112. In the event of late failure of vaccine production, the Commissioner may modify this determination.
Health care providers vaccinating pregnant women and children less than 3 years of age are expected to seek out vaccine that complies with PHL §2112. The NYSDOH, however, recognizes that in prior years, although the supply of thimerosal-free vaccine appeared adequate, certain New York State health care providers were unable to order such vaccine. In those instances when health care providers have in good faith sought out influenza vaccine that complies with PHL §2112, but such vaccine cannot be obtained, vaccination of children less than 3 years of age and pregnant women is still recommended because the substantial risk of complications or death from influenza disease in these groups outweighs the unproven risk of vaccination with thimerosal-containing vaccine. Health care providers should document the attempts that were made to locate and obtain the vaccine. They should also be aware that a pregnant woman or parent/guardian of a child less than 3 three years of age must provide informed consent for the administration of vaccine that contains more than trace amounts of thimerosal as noted above.
For additional information, please go to the NYSDOH webpage as noted below: http://www.nyhealth.gov/regulations/public_health_law/section/2112/information_for_physicians/
Additional information regarding vaccine safety, including the use of thimerosal in vaccines, can be obtained at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Immunization Program website at http://www.cdc.gov/od/science/iso/, and at the website of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/default.htm
For further information, please contact your local health department or your regional New York State Department of Health Bureau of Immunization representative at the following:
Western Regional Office Central New York Regional Office
Buffalo / Rochester: 716 – 847 – 4501 Syracuse: 315 – 477 – 8164
Capital District Regional Office Metropolitan Area Regional Office
Troy: 518 – 408 – 5278 New Rochelle: 914 – 654 – 7149
Central Islip: 631 – 851 – 3096
Monticello: 845 – 794 – 2045
For questions about ordering vaccine in New York State (outside of New York City), Vaccines for Children (VFC) providers can call 518 – 474 – 4578 or toll free at 800 – KID – SHOT during business hours.
Providers and facilities in New York City should contact the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene at 347 – 396 – 2400. For questions about ordering vaccine in New York City, VFC providers can call 347 – 396 – 2405 during business hours.
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Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
Flu Season is Here! While seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, flu activity usually peaks in January. Remind your patients that annual vaccination is recommended for optimal protection. Medicare pays for the seasonal flu vaccine and its administration for seniors and others with Medicare with no co-pay or deductible. Healthcare workers, who may spread the flu to high risk patients, should get vaccinated too. Don’t forget to immunize yourself and your staff. Protect your patients. Protect your family. Protect yourself. Get the Flu Vaccine—Not the Flu.
Remember – The flu vaccine plus its administration are covered Part B benefits. CMS has posted the 2011-2012 seasonal flu vaccine payment limits at http://www.CMS.gov/McrPartBDrugAvgSalesPrice/10_VaccinesPricing.asp. Note that the flu vaccine is NOT a Part D-covered drug.
For more information on coverage and billing of the flu vaccine and its administration, as well as related educational provider resources, visit http://www.CMS.gov/MLNProducts/35_PreventiveServices.asp and http://www.cms.gov/immunizations.
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Thursday, October 20th, 2011
Description of the Problem
For dates of service in September 2011, influenza vaccinations are being priced using the 2010-2011 influenza season rates.
What This Means to You
Providers are receiving incorrect payment for influenza vaccination claims. If you identify influenza vaccinations where you were paid incorrectly, please hold your appeal requests. As soon as the pricing files are updated you will be notified and you may request an adjustment of your claims. Until the new pricing files are uploaded National Government Services cannot reprocess any claims. If you have not already submitted your influenza vaccinations for September, please consider holding your claims until the new pricing files are in effect.
10/20/2011: National Government Services is aware of this issue and is working in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in order to rectify the pricing disparity as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.
National Government Services, Inc.
Monday, October 18th, 2010
Washington, DC — All pregnant women, regardless of trimester, should get the influenza vaccination during the flu season, according to new recommendations issued today by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and published in the October issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. The College emphasizes that preventing the flu during pregnancy is an essential element of prenatal care and that it is imperative that physicians, healthcare organizations, and public health officials improve their efforts to increase immunization rates among pregnant women.
Last week, the CDC, along with The College and other medical organizations, encouraged all physicians and health care providers to urge their pregnant and postpartum patients to get vaccinated against the seasonal flu.
Annual flu vaccination is crucial for pregnant women because the immune system changes during pregnancy, which results in women being at increased risk of serious complications if they get the flu. Flu vaccination performs double duty by protecting both pregnant women and their babies. Babies cannot be vaccinated against the flu until they are six months old, but they receive antibodies from their mother which help protect them until they can be vaccinated.
“The flu is a highly infectious virus and can be especially serious for the very young, those with certain medical conditions, and pregnant women,” said Richard N. Waldman, MD, president of The College. “Pregnant women were disproportionately affected by flu complications last year—some went into premature labor, some developed pneumonia, and unfortunately, some died.”
Vaccination early in the flu season is optimal, but can be given at any time during this period, regardless of the stage of pregnancy. The College advises that all women who are or become pregnant during the annual flu season (October through May) get the inactivated flu vaccine. Women can also receive the flu vaccine postpartum and while they are breastfeeding if they missed it during pregnancy. The live attenuated version of the flu vaccine (the nasal mist) should not be given to pregnant women.
According to the CDC, the seasonal flu vaccine is made the same way each year. “The only difference from year to year is that new strains of virus are used to make the vaccine based on which are predicted to be most prevalent,” said William M. Callaghan, MD, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) liaison to The College’s Committee on Obstetric Practice. There have been no studies showing adverse effects of the inactivated flu vaccine for pregnant women or their children, according to The College. “Millions of pregnant women have received the flu vaccine over the past 45 years, and no studies have shown harm to them or their babies,” said Dr. Callaghan.
Despite concerns about thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative used in some vaccines, there is no scientific evidence that it causes harm to women or their infants. The only side effect is the occasional local skin reaction at the injection site. “There are seasonal flu vaccines that don’t contain thimerosal, so people who remain concerned can ask for those,” said Dr. Callaghan.
Dr. Callaghan notes that The College’s recommendation to increase the vaccination rate among pregnant women dovetails with the CDC’s push for physicians to offer the flu vaccine to every patient age six months and older at every opportunity.
Committee Opinion #468, “Influenza Vaccination During Pregnancy,” is published in the October 2010 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
# # #
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of approximately 55,000 members, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care.
Wednesday, September 1st, 2010
August 30, 2010
Dear Influenza Vaccine Provider:
This letter is intended to encourage you to continue to vaccinate against influenza and to provide you with information on the 2010-2011 influenza season.
For those providers who have previously administered influenza vaccinations to your patients, we hope that you will strongly consider continuing in your role as a vaccine provider. You should review your influenza vaccine purchasing options and assess the needs of your
practice or organization. For more information on distributors and influenza vaccine availability, please visit the following websites:
New York State Vaccines for Children Program
Influenza Vaccine Distributor Information
Influenza Vaccine Availability Tracking System (IVATS)
On February 24, 2010 vaccine experts voted that everyone 6 months and older should get flu vaccine each year starting with the 2010-2011 influenza season. The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted for “universal” flu vaccination in the U.S. to expand protection against the flu to more people. Please also note that the following virus strains will be contained in the trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine for the 2010-2011 seasonal influenza:
A higher dose formulation of an inactivated seasonal influenza vaccine (Fluzone High- Dose, manufactured by sanofi pasteur, licensed by FDA on December 23, 2009) for use in people age 65 years and older will also be available in the 2010-11 influenza season. Fluzone High-Dose contains four times the amount of influenza antigen compared to other inactivated seasonal influenza vaccines. Studies are underway to assess the relative effectiveness of Fluzone High-Dose compared to standard dose inactivated influenza vaccine, but results from those studies will not be available before the 2010-11 influenza season. The ACIP has not expressed a preference for Fluzone High-Dose or any other licensed inactivated influenza vaccine for use in people age 65 and older.
All children 6 months through 8 years of age are recommended to receive 2 doses of 2010-11 flu vaccine unless they meet the following conditions (in which case, only 1 dose of influenza vaccine is needed):
If possible, the first dose should be given as soon as vaccine becomes available. The second dose should be given 28 or more days after the first dose. We strongly encourage you to continue in your vaccination efforts against influenza and plan for this upcoming influenza season. Should you need further assistance, please call the NYSDOH Bureau of Immunization at 518-473-4437.
Guthrie S. Birkhead, M.D., M.P.H.
Office of Public Health
Monday, August 2nd, 2010
The CDC has announced new and revised recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for the prevention and control of influenza in an early release of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
Five primary changes and updates highlight this 86-page document:
• Routine seasonal influenza vaccination is recommended for all persons aged ≥6 months.
• Two doses, at least four weeks apart, are recommended for all children aged 6 months to 8 years who are receiving seasonal vaccine for the first time. To bring all children into compliance: a) Children should also receive two doses if they were in the age group last year but received only one dose. b) Children in this age group who did not receive at least one dose of H1N1 monovalent vaccine last year should receive two doses of seasonal 2010-2011 vaccine this year regardless of previous vaccine history. c) Children in this age group should also receive two doses of seasonal 2010-2011 vaccine if the type of vaccine they received last year is not known.
• The 2010-2011 trivalent vaccines will contain A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like, A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)-like, and B/Brisbane/60/2008-like antigens.
• Persons aged ≥65 years can receive the new inactivated trivalent vaccine, Fluzone High-Dose or any of the standard-dose TIV preparations.
• A new inactivated influenza vaccine (Agriflu by Novartis), has been approved for persons aged ≥18 years; and the age indications have been expanded for two previously approved inactivated vaccines (Fluarix by GlaxoSmithKline for persons aged ≥3 years and Afluria by CSL Biotherapies for persons aged ≥6 months).
More information can be accessed online in the complete Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), Volume 59, titled “Prevention and Control of Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2010.”
Monday, June 14th, 2010
The ILINet Surveillance Program works in collaboration with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to provide a state and nationwide report on the spread of the influenza virus and its current activity. The ILINet data, in combination with other influenza surveillance data, can be used to guide prevention and control activities, vaccine strain selection, and patient care. ILINet Providers help fight the disease by collecting and reporting their total number of patient visits and their total numbers of patient visits for Influenza-Like-Illness (ILI) to the CDC on a weekly basis. Free of charge, ILINet Providers are permitted to submit a designated number of patient specimens to the NYSDOH Wadsworth Center for virus testing and sub-typing.
Additionally, all ILINet Providers receive a free subscription to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal.
Further information may be obtained from the MSSNY website or by contacting:
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