Thursday, March 2, 2017

Webinar -- Vaccine Confidence: Key to Communicating

The Florida Department of Health Immunization Section would like to share with its partners, colleagues and the community an educational webcast and live Q&A session.

The webcast will be hosted by Sanofi Pasteur and is titled Vaccine Confidence: The Key to Communicating with Parents and Patients. Registration is required.

Topics addressed will be vaccine acceptance, hesitancy and resistance. The program goal is to increase confidence and comfort levels of health care professionals to better equip them for conversations with parents and patients. Communication techniques will be demonstrated by expert staff.

Speakers include:

  • Gary S. Marshall, MD
    Professor of Pediatrics
    Chief, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases
    Director, Pediatric Clinical Trials Unit
    University of Louisville School of Medicine     
  • Carole H. Moloney, RN, MSN, CPNP
    Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
    Boston Medical Center
    Clinical Instructor, Pediatrics
    Boston University School of Medicine      

 Four sessions are scheduled:

  • Tuesday, March 7, 2:00 p.m. EST
  • Thursday, March 9, 12:00 p.m. EST
  • Tuesday, March 14, 3:00 p.m. EST
  • Thursday, March 16, 1:00 p.m. EST

To register, please visit:

Feel free to distribute this information to anyone who provides or has an interest in immunizations. If you have questions or need additional information regarding vaccine recommendations, please contact Dearline Thomas-Brown, MPH, BSN, RN, Executive Community Health Nursing Director for the Immunization Section at 850-245-4342.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Childhood Immunization Champion Award

Do you know someone who has gone above and beyond on childhood vaccinations? You can considering nominating him or her for the Florida Childhood Immunization Champion Award Program.  

Please note the deadline for submitting the form is Friday, February 17, 2017.  

2017 Florida Childhood Immunization Champion Award Program

The Florida Department of Health Immunization Section on behalf of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the CDC Foundation is proud to announce the sixth Annual Childhood Immunization Champion Award Program. The award honors individuals who are doing an exemplary job or going above and beyond to promote or foster childhood immunizations in their communities. Award recipients for 2017 will be announced during National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), April 22-29, 2017.

Award Criteria

Champions can include coalition members, parents, health care professionals (e.g., physicians, nurses, physicians’ assistants, nurse practitioners, medical assistants, etc.), and other immunization leaders who meet the award criteria. State immunization program managers, state and federal government employees of health agencies, individuals who have been affiliated with and/or employed by pharmaceutical companies, and those who have already received the award are not eligible to apply.

When nominating and selecting a Champion, immunization programs should base their nominations on meeting one or more of the following criteria:

  • Leadership: The candidate is considered an authority on immunization in their community, medical system, or individual practice. Activities may include acting as a spokesperson, trainer, mentor, or educator.
  • Collaboration: The candidate has worked to build support for and increase immunization rates in infants and young children. Activities may include establishing or strengthening partnerships, coalitions, committees, working groups, or other.
  • Innovation: The candidate has used creative or innovative strategies to promote immunization or address challenges to immunization in their practice, community, state, or region. Activities may include either new strategies or adapting existing strategies in new ways such as for reaching under-immunized populations.  

  • Advocacy: The candidate is active in advancing policies and best practices to support immunization in infants and young children in their community, state, or region. Activities may include providing legislative testimony or promoting, analyzing, or evaluating policies. 

Eligibility information and nominating forms have been attached for your convenience.

Please submit ALL nomination packets to Dearline Thomas-Brown, MPH, BSN, RN, Executive Community Health Nursing Director, Florida Department of Health, Immunization Section at, by February 17, 2017 (extended).

Please distribute this important information to colleagues, members, coalitions, and partners who provide or have an interest in immunizations. Please place this information prominently on your website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Dearline Thomas-Brown, MPH, BSN, RN, Executive Community Health Nursing Director, Florida Department of Health, Immunization Section at 850-245-4342, ext. 2384 or

Monday, January 30, 2017

A CDC toolkit to address HPV

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collected a number of tools that immunization advocates, clinicians and parents can use to talk about the vaccine against human papilloma virus. Here are all the particulars...

We have an amazing tool to protect young people from most of the cancers caused by HPV, including cervical cancer. Let’s use the rest of January to raise awareness of all HPV cancers and HPV vaccination. 
CDC and several partner organizations have compiled a multitude of resources for the new
HPV Vaccination Partner Toolkit that can help you share the importance of HPV vaccination, help clinicians make effective recommendations, improve coverage rates, and provide you with places you can go to get more information and materials. Below are ways you can raise awareness this month and in the future.

Share Why HPV Vaccine is Important

     1.  Have Survivors Come to Speak
     Having a survivor come speak to clinicians in the area can
     make a big impact. The American Cancer Society has
     developed a speaker database that will allow you to find
     HPV cancer survivors in your area.

survivor video
     2. Share Survivor Videos
     HPV cancer survivors have a unique and powerful story to tell.
     Listen to these men and women talk about their experiences
     important. These videos can be used to help parents and
     clinicians understand  the risks of HPV infection and why HPV
     vaccination is so important.


     3. Set up a viewing of Someone You Love
     “Someone You Love: The HPV Epidemic” is a feature length
     in-depth documentary narrated by Vanessa Williams on the
     human papilloma virus (HPV) and the stories of
     struggle, tragedy and triumph surrounding this complicated
     and often misunderstood infection.


     4. Discover the Link Between HPV and Cancer
     Each year, about 38,793 new cases of cancer are found in
     parts of the body where human papillomavirus (HPV) is often 
     found. HPV causes about 30,700 of these cancers. Get the
     statistics around HPV and Cancer from CDC to better
     understand t
he burden of HPV infection.

Help Clinicians Make Effective Recommendations

     1. Share the Updated Clinician Factsheet
     Our updated clinician tipsheet highlights the use of the
     "bundled recommendation" and gives simple and effective
     answers to the questions parents have about HPV vaccine.


     2. Learn How to Give an Effective Recommendation
     CDC has created multiple CME courses on the best ways to
     give an HPV vaccine recommendation. Each course can be
     used to get new insight on how to have the HPV vaccine
     conversation with parents of 11-12 year olds and how to
     answer their questions.


MN Video
      3. Watch Providers Giving Effective Recommendations
      Minnesota Department of Health has created a 12-minute
      video for health care providers on HPV vaccine  
      communication. The video begins with humorous vignettes
      and then presents four model clinical encounters in which
      providers demonstrate low-stress ways of recommending
      HPV vaccine and answering questions from patients and
Help Raise HPV Vaccination Rates

what do
     1.  Know the Many Ways You Can Help
     Get tips on what different types of groups can do to help
     raise rates. This PDF includes suggestions like: sending
     letters to parents of 9-12 year olds, hosting lunch and learns,   
     working with local cancer groups, reaching out to local
     health systems, and more.


     2.  Understand your Rates
     Access survey data collected by CDC and translate the data
     into action. This data can help you identify where additional
     efforts are needed to increase vaccination coverage.


     3.  Get Involved in Quality Improvement Projects
     Quality improvement actions in your practice can lead to
     increases in HPV vaccination coverage. Find out more about
     the different types of quality improvement projects that are
     available, including AFIX visits, reminder/recall, immunization
     information systems, and more.


     4.  Participate in A Maintenance of Certification Project
     Be a part of AAP's maintenance of certification program.
     AAP's MOC site is designed to assist eligible AAP Member
     pediatricians in developing, submitting, and managing a
     MOC related activity.
Get More Resources

partner toolkit
     1. CDC's HPV Partner Toolkit
     This toolkit provides resources for state and local
     organizations interested in enhancing HPV vaccination
     efforts at the clinician, patient, and partnership level.
     It includes all of CDC's resources for helping to promote
     HPV vaccine and give links to partner information.


     2. The American Cancer Soceity
     The American Cancer Society has several HPV vaccination
     rate improvement initiatives. The HPV VACs project
     partners with Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs),
     state health departments, and other state-based entities to
     increase HPV vaccination rates through improved clinician
     education and systems change. The National HPV
     Vaccination Roundtable, coordinated by the American
     Cancer Society is a national coalition of over 70 national
     organizations working together to prevent HPV cancer and
     precancer by increasing and sustaining HPV vaccination
     rates in the United States..


AAp toolkit
     3. The AAP's HPV Champion Toolkit.
     This toolkit from the American Academy of Pediatrics has
     some of the best resources available to help you educate
     other healthcare professionals, discuss HPV vaccination
     with parents, and make necessary changes in your practice
     to improve HPV vaccination rates. 


     4. Local Partners
     Many organizations have local initiatives to increase HPV
     vaccination rates. Use this page to find your state contacts,
     as well as information on several partner projects dedicated
     to preventing HPV cancers and diseases.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

How we talk to parents about HPV vaccine is important

The way health professionals talk about the human papilloma virus vaccine can improve the chances that parents will agree to immunize their children.

That was the experience of the Florida Department of Health in Broward County during its annual back-to-school immunization campaign in August.

DOH-Broward nurses nearly doubled the number of HPV shots they gave during the 2016 campaign at Lauderhill Mall, by simply telling parents that HPV vaccine protects kids against cancer.

“When HPV becomes a part of routine vaccination and is presented as cancer prevention, parents are more apt to agree to the vaccination for their child,” DOH-Broward staff wrote in a summary on the success of the practice.

HPV vaccine is given to boys and girls starting at age 11. During the mall campaign, DOH-Broward vaccinated 1,640 children for HPV, vs. 903 in 2015, the first year it was offered. That’s an 82 percent jump. Of those, 1,256 were initial doses, 228 were second doses and 156 were third doses.
HPV vaccine is not required for school admission, and some parents hesitate to say yes because HPV is a sexually transmitted disease. Federal data from 2013 rank Florida among the lowest in HPV vaccinations, with 39.4 percent of females receiving one dose.

But reframing the conversation helped.

“The success of this practice was due to training immunization nurses on how to talk to parents about HPV and willingness of nurses to implement these new methods,” says
Terri Sudden, Director of Public Health Preparedness and Response. She will give a presentation on the approach at a statewide immunization conference.

The same approach helped increase HPV vaccine rates at DOH-Broward clinics, which gave 2,577 doses last year, almost triple the 869 given in 2015.

Offering HPV vaccine at DOH-Broward settings is part of a three-pronged project DOH-Broward began in 2015.

The other parts involve training medical professionals to pro-mote the vaccine routinely, and to distribute educational palm cards in the community (over 5,000 so far). The project continues this year.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Delivering a shot of immunization knowledge

Janice Lachhman (L) and Fatima Aviles (R) of DOH Immunization talk with Cherie Collins of South Florida Pediatric Partners  
The Immunization Action Coalition of Broward delivered another installment of its Immunization Training for Medical Professionals, targeting physician office personnel. It was the second such session of the year.

The half-day seminar drew 16 medical assistants, office managers and clinic workers from various pediatric and family medicine practices throughout Broward County. The coalition, staffed by Florida Department of Health in Broward County with community partners, aims to promote the increased use of vaccines, especially among children and adolescents.

During the training, speakers from DOH and the coalition covered frequently asked topics, such as best practices in Hepatitis B vaccine for children, how to use Florida SHOTS to record vaccinations, influenza, Zika virus and vaccine handling and preparation.

A highlight was a skit by coalition members Ray Ramirez (Pediatric Associates) and Janet Jones (Holy Cross Hospital) on how to engage parents who are reluctant to get their children vaccinated, with a focus on human papilloma virus (HPV) for adolescents.

The coalition also gave thank-you awards to two pediatric offices that have volunteered to let DOH scrutinize their childhood vaccination rates, so they can work to improve. Gallagher Pediatrics in Fort Lauderdale (part of Holy Cross Medical Group) and South Florida Pediatric Partners in Pompano Beach were recruited to participate by coalition Chair Samhara Estrada. She is a regional consultant for the DOH Immunization Section.

The project is called Assess the Best. The premise is that most physician offices believe they vaccinating more children than they actually do, and that if they knew the figures, they would improve their performance. In the first three months of the project, both pediatric offices raised their rates of HPV vaccinations and one raised its rate of standard childhood shots.

For information on Assess the Best, contact

Monday, October 3, 2016

Rotavirus makes anti-vaccination mother change her tune

A hallmark of sound thinking is the willingness to change one's mind in the face of new and better information.

Thus the 180-degree reversal by Chicago special-needs teacher Kristen O’Meara, 40, who was a staunch anti-vaccination advocate until she had a frightening wake-up call.

Her entire household with three small children came down with rotavirus, a potentially deadly stomach virus that can be prevented with a vaccine.

Ms. O'Meara's story unfolded in a fascinating article in the New York Post last month, by Jane Ridley, in which a mother tells why she has now had all three kids fully vaccinated.

Her change of heart sparked a series of media reports, including a thorough and thoughtful account in the Huffington Post.

Ms. O'Meara felt so strongly about her conversion the she wrote a heartfelt blog for the website of Voices for Vaccines, a non-profit group that advocates for immunization.

"Then our whole family contracted rotavirus late in the winter," O'Meara wrote. "It was a nightmare. It was horrible to see my daughters hunched over on the toilet, crying from the painful cramping that lasted a week after the acute illness. Once I realized what we all had, and that it could have been prevented with a vaccine, a spark of doubt began to grow."

Photo Courtesy of Voices for Vaccines

Medical Assistants Training -- November 16, 2016

The Coalition presents another 2016 Immunization Training for Medical Assistants and Medical Professionals.

The FREE half-day educational session is set from 1:30 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 16 at the FL Department of Health in Broward County, 780 SW 24 Street, Fort Lauderdale.

The training will cover a series of topics, including How to use Florida SHOTS, Flu and Flu Vaccine, the Vaccine Schedule and proper handling of vaccines.

You won't want to miss a special presentation on Hepatitis B Vaccine and Caring for Children Exposed to Hep B.

Space is limited. RSVP to

Here's an informational flyer and registration form. See you there!

Friday, May 20, 2016

HPV Video from AAP

The American Academy of Pediatrics chapter in California has put out a very informative video on the benefits of HPV vaccine for girls and boys starting at age 11.

The presentation gives advice to doctors about how to persuade families to get the vaccine, and tells parents in clear language why the vaccine is key to protecting children against cancer caused by the human papillomavirus.

Find it: