All VFC/VFAAR influenza vaccine supplied by the Philadelphia Immunization Program during the 2022-2023 flu season has expired. Please account for unused VFC/VFAAR flu vaccine at your site using PhilaVax:
Process a return for the unopened vials online in the Vaccines Returns module. A job aid with step by step instructions can be found here.
Adjust out open vials of Flu. A job aid with step by step instructions can be found here.
Return your vaccine before August 15th
Please complete these steps by August 15, 2023 to avoid delays in processing your site’s 2023-24 flu season orders. If you have questions, contact DPHProviderHelp@phila.gov.
All communication about the availability of flu vaccine will be made via email and posted on the PDPH website. Keep an eye out for upcoming messages! If you need to add more people to our mailing list, please contact us at email@example.com.
Thank you for helping to protect Philadelphians this past year! We look forward to working together to keep people safe from the flu next season.
Protecting Infants from Vaccine Preventable Diseases
National Infant Immunizations Week is April 24 to April 30 this year, serving as a reminder to protect infants in Philadelphia from vaccine preventable diseases.
Over the years, immunization providers in the United States have reached major milestones in protecting infants through vaccines. Through immunization, we can now protect infants and children from 15 vaccine-preventable diseases before age 2.
There are important updates to COVID-19 immunization recommendations for infants:
Previously unvaccinated: Children 6 months through 5 years of age who are unvaccinated may receive a two-dose series of the Moderna bivalent vaccine (6 months through 5 years of age) OR a three-dose series of the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent vaccine (6 months through 4 years of age).
Previously vaccinated:Children 6 months through 4 years who previously completed their full two- or three-dose monovalent Moderna/Pfizer COVID-19 primary vaccination series are now recommended to receive a dose of Moderna/Pfizer’s updated (bivalent) COVID-19 vaccine.
Children 6 months through 5 years of age who have received one, two, or three doses of a monovalent COVID-19 vaccine should receive a bivalent vaccine, but the number of doses that they receive will depend on the vaccine and their vaccination history.
Healthy People 2030
Philadelphia immunization providers have made measurable progress in infant immunization coverage. However, immunization rates fell during the COVID-19 pandemic, and have not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels.
In Philadelphia, vaccination coverage with 4 doses of the DTaP vaccine in children between 0 and 2 years old was around 84% in 2021.
Healthy People 2030 objective IID-06 is: Increase the coverage level of 4 doses of the DTaP vaccine in children by age 2 years. The target for this objective is 90%.
Philadelphia providers have an opportunity to increase immunization coverage for this metric to reach or exceed the target by 2030.
In addition to increasing DTaP vaccine coverage, Philadelphia providers can improve infant immunization coverage by focusing on addressing disparities.
Local data shows that influenza vaccination coverage among infants was lowest at 55.8% among the lowest income group in the data set, as compared with 84.3% among the highest income group in the set. In addition, influenza vaccination coverage was 61.2% among Black infants and 61.9% among Hispanic infants, as compared with 73.8% among white infants.
Rotavirus coverage was 65.7% among the lowest income group, as compared with 87.1% among the highest income group. Rotavirus coverage was 70.3% among Black infants and 69.8% among Hispanic infants, as compared with 84.1% among white infants.
Preexisting social determinants of health such as economic burden, lack of transportation, and lower rate of insurance coverage contribute to these disparities. However, immunization providers can use multiple strategies to close the gaps in vaccination coverage.
Strategies to increase vaccination rates among Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native communities include strongly recommending flu vaccination and making culturally appropriate vaccine recommendations (e.g. using materials with images representative of those in the community, addressing community-specific concerns and misinformation, and using the predominant language spoken in the community, such as Spanish).
Providers can also work toward increasing vaccination coverage among low-income populations by using evidence-based strategies such as immunization reminders, standing orders to provide vaccination whenever appropriate, and immunization information systems. Additionally, review immunization schedules with parents at the child’s first visit to show vaccines that are upcoming.
Improving communication between providers and patients is crucial to increasing immunization coverage among infants in your office.
New Vaccine Products Available Through VFC & VFAAR
View more information about Priorix and Vaxneuvance, now available through VFC and VFAAR, below. There have been a number of updates to the available vaccines for the VFC and VFAAR programs. Lists of vaccines currently available through VFC and VFAAR can be accessed through these links.
Complete the following survey to notify our program of which vaccine your site prefers. We will review each site’s submission and reach out with next steps. We recommend that sites that are part of a system or are affiliated use the same vaccine presentations across sites to ensure continuity of care and help prevent administration errors.
Vaxneuvance (15-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, PCV15) is now available through the VFC program.
Vaxneuvance is a vaccine indicated for active immunization for the prevention of invasive disease caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes 1, 3, 4, 5, 6A, 6B, 7F, 9V, 14, 18C, 19A, 19F, 22F, 23F and 33F in individuals 2 months of age and older.
For all recommendations, PCV13 and PCV15 can be used interchangeably.
VFC providers must decide whether they will order Prevnar (PCV13) or Vaxneuvance (PCV15) going forward going forward. To change the product your site orders, complete the Vaccine Change Request form, linked above.
Notes From the Immunization Program: Prepare Your Practice to Fight Flu This Winter
Less than 30 percent of Philadelphians were vaccinated against flu in 2020. Presently, seasonal flu activity is elevated across the country. Ensure your practice is prepared to fight flu this winter.
Remind patients to get vaccinated. Send email, text, or phone call reminders to patients to get vaccinated against flu this season. CDC developed an appointment reminder email template which you can customize for your practice and patient population.
Make a strong vaccine recommendation. Offer flu vaccine and share specific reasons why the flu vaccine is right for the patient.
Young children: “Young children, even those who are healthy, are at high risk of serious flu-related complications. Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated death by 65% (nearly two-thirds) among healthy children.”
Pregnant people: “Pregnant people are at high risk of severe flu illness due to changes in the body caused by pregnancy. Complications of the flu can include preterm delivery, pneumonia, and material and fetal death. The flu vaccine is safe and recommended during pregnancy and can also protect your baby for several months after birth.”
Adults 65 years and older: “People who are 65 years and older are at high risk of serious complications due to flu. Most flu-related hospitalizations and deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older.”
Adults with certain medical conditions: “People with certain chronic conditions, like asthma, diabetes, and heart disease, are at high risk of serious complications from flu. These include inflammation of the heart, brain, or muscle tissue”
Healthy adults: “Most healthy adults don’t die from the flu, but your rate of hospitalization can be cut nearly in half by getting the flu shot.”
Discuss practical matters with patients. There are costs to skipping vaccinations, such as the flu shot:
If patients get the flu, they may miss several days of work which can result in lost wages.
Patients who are hospitalized due to the flu can face expensive medical bills.
When discussing the costs of declining vaccination, remember to acknowledge patient concerns. This is particularly important for marginalized patients who have experienced discrimination in medical settings.
Continue the conversation. If patients remain hesitant to receive the flu vaccine after counseling, offer educational materials. CDC has informational handouts which you can use at no cost to your practice.
Additionally, this Flu Toolkit is available for health care providers in Philadelphia. It contains guidance on patient counseling, vaccine ordering updates, and flu vaccine promotional posters (available to order).
Additional VFAAR Flu Vaccine Now Available for Ordering
The CDC has allotted additional doses of flu vaccine to the Immunization Program. VFAAR flu is now available for ordering. Due to the limited capacity, orders are limited to 200 doses per site to ensure everyone has access to flu vaccine.
These flu vaccines are now available to order for your VFAAR patients:
As a reminder, VFAAR flu vaccine can be administered to all adults regardless of insurance status during the 2022-2023 flu season. This is a special allowance by the CDC during flu season this year. While flu is available for everyone, continue to vaccinate insured adults with flu from your privately purchased flu supply. However, if private doses are not available (because you’re waiting for your shipment or your supply is depleted), do not miss an opportunity; remember everyone is eligible to receive a dose from the VFAAR supply. For more information, visit our website.
Temperature logs must be submitted on the same day as any order placed for federal vaccine (VFC, VFAAR, flu, COVID-19, or monkeypox)!
Temperature logs are to be uploaded in PhilaVax and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The logs must show that the unit is within the appropriate temperature ranges and that there have been no alarms. This reporting guide can assist you in submitting your DDL temperature files.
For more information on ordering and how to upload your temperature log, please attend the next online ordering training on November 10, 2022 from 10:00AM – 11:00AM EST. Click the link below to register for the training.