Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Help Stop Meningitis in New York!

Pro-science parents and nurses- your support this week is critical! The New York State meningococcal bill S4324a/A791c is now on Governor Andrew Cuomo's desk for his consideration.This is the final step and the Governor will likely make his decision this week.

The NYS Meningococcal Immunization Bill would require all seventh and twelfth grade students to be immunized with the current meningococcal vaccine. 
JUSTIFICATION: According to the CDC, roughly 1,000 - 1,200 people contract meningococcal disease each year in the United States. Between ten and fifteen percent of these cases are fatal. Eleven to nineteen percent of those who survive will suffer from permanent hearing loss,developmental delays, loss of limbs, or other serious conditions. This bill would require meningococcal vaccinations for students entering the seventh and twelfth grades. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which provides advice and guidance to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends a single dose of vaccine be administered at age 11 or 12, and a booster at age 16. Currently, more than 20 states require meningococcal vaccines.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2014: S.7348 Referred to Health
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None noted. Health plans in the state of New York are required to cover preventive and primary care services, including necessary immunizations. Additionally, the Vaccines for Children (VFC)program is a federally funded program that provides ACIP recommended vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.

Supporters of this bill are asking everyone to please call, write an email and fax letters in support of the bill today.

Phone Calls:

The Governor's office can be reached at 1-518-474-8390. Out-of-state residents are allowed to call to voice their support and NYS residents please be sure to provide your zip code.


Emails should be directed to: Alphonso David, Counsel to the Governor c/o Katherine Santandrea, Executive Assistant to Alphonso David

Please include in the subject line of e-mails: Support for NY Meningococcal Immunization Bill (S.4324-A/ A.791-C)

Suggestion of some sample wording in email:

Dear Mr. Alphonso David:

Please help support 
The New York State meningococcal bill S4324c/A791aNew York State needs this very important bill to be signed into law so that not one more person will contract or die unnecessarily from meningococcal disease – a vaccine preventable disease! This bill will, no doubt, save hundreds of lives and save hundreds from the devastating side effects of the disease, such as limb amputations and neurologic deficits. Meningococcal disease can kill an otherwise healthy person within 24 hours!

This bill targets vaccination of the ages with the highest rates of meningococcal disease, specifically preteen, teen, and young adults. I believe it should be mandated for this high risk group. It is the most effective way to avert a catastrophic disease in young people who usually contract the disease in a school setting.

I urge you to please pass this bill into law.
Emails can also be sent to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via his website contact page:
You can also mail him directly at gov.cuomo@chamber.state.ny.us

Postal Service:

Please write a letter to the governor (you can use the above template but please include your own thoughts) asking him to support (S.4324-A/ A.791-C)
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

FAX your letter: 518-4741513

There is some false misinformation being circulated in opposition of this bill. Below are the common misconceptions and rebuttals. 

1    FALSE STATEMENT: “There have been no deaths from meningococcal meningitis in the age group targeted by this bill in New York in the past five years.”
FACT: As one example, a 17-year-old high school senior died from meningococcal disease in the bill’s targeted age group within the past five years (2012) in New York State. www.kimberlycoffeyfoundation.org

      FALSE STATEMENT: “One can reasonably expect 4,000 serious injuries and 12 deaths every year from annually vaccinating 400,000 New York students to prevent a handful of meningococcal meningitis cases.”
FACT: During 2005-2011, an estimated 800-1,200 cases of meningococcal disease occurred annually in the United States. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/mening.html#

      FALSE STATEMENT:  The bill “also includes a mandate for vaccines for the B-strain of meningococcal meningitis, even though there are no vaccines for meningitis B licensed for use in the United States.”
FACT:   Serogroup B vaccines are licensed in the United States as of 2014. http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/vaccine-info.html
Because serogroup B vaccines were given a permissive category B recommendation by ACIP in June 2015, the proposed bill does not, at this time, include vaccines for serogroup B meningococcal disease. The bill is for protection with the current ACIP recommended meningococcal vaccines which protect against serogroups A,C,W & Y.

Please share this message with friends and family and please post to social media. 

For additional information please cont
Patti Wukovits, R.N., Nurses Who Vaccinate Meningitis Advocacy Director


Albany, New York


-CDC- Meningitis

-MAYO Clinic- Meningitis

MedlinePlus- Meningitis

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Nurses Essential in Ensuring All Children are Protected with Immunization

Nurses Essential in Ensuring All Children are Protected with Immunization
National Immunization Awareness Month is a reminder
 that we all need vaccines throughout our lives.

Parents consider healthcare professionals one of the most trusted sources in answering questions and addressing concerns about their child’s health. A recent survey on parents’ attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors regarding vaccines for young children – including vaccine safety and trust – found that 82 percent of parents consider pediatric health care professionals to be one of their most trusted sources of vaccine information. With so many parents relying on the advice of health care professionals about vaccines, a nurse’s recommendation plays a key role in guiding parents’ vaccination decisions.

“Because nurses are often the ones administering vaccines, it makes their expertise, knowledge, and advice vital in creating a safe and trusted environment for discussing childhood immunizations,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general of the U.S. Public Health Service and CDC’s director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “How you communicate with parents during routine pediatric visits is critical for fostering parental confidence in the decision to vaccinate their children.”

The survey also found that 71 percent of parents were confident or very confident in the safety of routine childhood immunizations, although parents’ most common question is what side effects they should look for after vaccination. Twenty-five percent are concerned that children get too many vaccines in one doctor’s visit and 20 percent of survey participants are concerned that vaccines may cause autism.

“Reinforcing that vaccines are safe and effective can go a long way towards assuring parents that they are doing the best thing for their children,” says Patsy Stinchfield, a pediatric nurse practitioner who represents the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. “One of the best ways you can establish trust with parents is by asking open-ended questions to help identify and address concerns they may have about vaccines. Also, restate their questions and acknowledge concerns with empathy.”

Make sure to address questions or concerns by tailoring responses to the level of detail the parent is looking for. Some parents may be prepared for a fairly high level of detail about vaccines – how they work and the diseases they prevent –while others may be overwhelmed by too much science and may respond better to a personal example of a patient you’ve seen with a vaccine-preventable disease. A strong recommendation from you as a nurse can also make parents feel comfortable with their decision to vaccinate.

For all parents, it’s important to address the risks of the diseases that vaccines prevent. It’s also imperative to acknowledge the risks associated with vaccines and highlight the benefits of vaccines. Parents are seeking balanced information. Never state that vaccines are risk-free, and always discuss the known side effects caused by vaccines.

If a parent chooses not to vaccinate, keep the lines of communication open and revisit their decision at a future visit. Make sure parents are aware of the risks and responsibilities they need to take on, such as informing schools and child care facilities that their child is unimmunized, and being careful to stay aware of any disease outbreaks that occur in their communities. If you build a trusting relationship over time with parents, they may reconsider their vaccination decision.

To help communicate about vaccine-preventable diseases, vaccines, and vaccine safety, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have partnered to develop Provider Resources for Vaccine Conversations with Parents. These materials include vaccine safety information, fact sheets on vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases, and strategies for successful vaccine conversations with parents. They are free and available online at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/conversations.

A parent's baby’s well-child visits can be stressful for the parent and their child, but there are ways to make them go easier. Get useful tips for soothing their baby when they gets shots by visiting CDC’s vaccine website for parents: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/tools/tips-factsheet.html
A special thank you and acknowledgement to the National Public Health Information Coalition and the CDC for providing the above information and resources.