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:

Thursday, May 5, 2016

FREE Immunization Training for Medical Assistants, Medical Professionals

The Coalition presents the first 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, June 22 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, the Vaccine Schedule, Meningicoccal Vaccine and HPV Vaccine.

Don't miss a special presentation on "How Well Do You Know Your Vaccination Rates?" The Coalition believes that many physician offices do not realize how many of their patients (especially children) do not receive the recommended vaccines.

Space is limited. RSVP to

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

Monday, March 21, 2016

Newspaper column on HPV vaccine

Here is a very informative newspaper health column about the cancer-protection benefits of the HPV vaccine, which may be of high interest to parents, young adults and their doctors.

The column comes from Cornell University's Dr. Keith Roach of the Herald-Tribune News Service. We saw it in the Palm Beach Post earlier in March.

The reader letter that provides most of the information was submitted to the column by Kristen R. Ehresmann, RN, director of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Prevention and Control at the Minnesota Department of Health.

She talks about the vaccine's safety profile and its ability to prevent cancer in women and men caused by human papilloma virus, which spreads mainly through unprotected sex.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Open letter to physicians on the meningococcal vaccine

The Immunization Action Coalition of Broward County is joining our national and state partners in sharing this letter, which encourages physicians to recommend a follow-up dose of meningococcal vaccine for their patients.
To see the pages larger, click on them and view and/or save to your computer. Thank you very much.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Immunization training for Medical Assistants -- 2 Great Presentations on HPV Vaccine

Training for Medical Assistants hosted by the Broward Immunization Action Coalition featured a detailed primer on the human papilloma virus and the HPV vaccine.

The FDA Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends HPV vaccine for boys and girls starting at age 11. The Immunization Action Coalition encourages all physicians and their medical staff to recommend the vaccine to their patients.

Want to know more?

First, here is the HPV Vaccine presentation by Senior Community Health Nurse Mary C. Porter of the Florida Department of Health in Broward County (with help from Janet Jones, at left).

Second, here is the Presentation on Administering the HPV Vaccine by Senior Community Health Nurse Kristy Goff of the Florida Department of Health in Broward County.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Immunization training for Medical Assistants - A Quiz for You

The Broward Immunization Coalition put on a training for Medical Assistants in physician offices, to cover various topics about vaccines and vaccination techniques.
The session was a success with 20 people attending the training in the administration building of the Florida Department of Health in Broward County.

Here's a quiz presented by Kristy Goff, Senior Community Health Nurse at DOH-Broward. See how you do! Answers below.

Immunization / Vaccine Techniques Quiz 

Name:  _________________________________                                               Date:  December 16, 2015

1. It is not necessary to always wash your hands before and after patient care.
True      or         False
2. OSHA does not require gloves, although you should check with your agency’s policy and procedure.
True      or         False
3. Do NOT aspirate when giving an immunization.
True      or         False
4. IM injections should be given with a 5/8 inch needle and 25 gauge syringe at a 45 degree angle.
True      or         False
5. You do not have to check expiration date on vial once it is opened.
True      or         False
6. As soon as the patient has been immunized, ask them to leave immediately, no need to observe.  NEXT!!!
True      or         False
7. There is an air bubble in the syringe with vaccine, shake it out vigorously, and never tap the syringe.
True      or         False
8. Do not pull back on the syringe for air and then inject the air into a multi-vial bottle.
True      or         False
9. Never label your syringe or leave the empty vial next to it before giving an injection, you won’t forget which vaccine is which.
True      or         False
10. Multiple injections should be spaced and given at least 1 inch away from previous injection site.
True      or         False
11. Select a 1 ½ inch needle for a patient who is large/obese patients  for better penetration into the Deltoid muscle.
True      or         False
12. The Vastus Lateralis is the preferred muscle for administering the Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine.
True      or         False
13. There is no need to deposit the used needle immediately into a sharps container, you can lay it down to apply the Band-Aid first, then dispose in sharps container.
True      or         False
14. Sharps containers are normally blue.
True      or         False
15. Vaccines should be drawn up in a clean area free from contaminated items.
True      or         False
16. Needles and syringes are used only for one patient as well as Single Dose (single use) medication vials.
True      or         False
17. Unsafe injection practices put the patient at risk for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and other infections.
True      or         False
18. Immunizing children, helps to protect the health of our community. 
True      or         False
19. Multi-dose vials are dated by the person opening the vial and discarded within 28 days unless the manufacturer specifies a different date for that opened vial.
True      or         False
20. The expiration date printed on the vial is NOT important.
True      or         False
21. Never enter a vial with a used syringe or needle (except when drawing up diluent first).
True      or         False
22. If a multi-dose vial has not been opened, it should be discarded according to the manufacturer’s expiration date.
True      or         False
23. Refrigerated vaccines should be kept between 35-46 degrees Fahrenheit.
True      or         False
24. It is ok to keep food in the refrigerator with vaccines as long as it is on a different shelf.
True      or         False
25. If vaccines are not kept at the proper temperature, they should be labeled “Do Not Use”, stored in the refrigerator, contact your supervisor immediately, and document the incident.
True      or         False

1. False. 2. True. 3. True. 4. False. 5. False. 6. False. 7. False. 8. False. 9. False. 10. True. 11. True. 12. False. 13. False. 14. False. 15. True. 16. True. 17. True. 18. True. 19. True. 20. False. 21. True. 22. True. 23. True. 24. False. 25. True.