Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
June 2020
This newsletter is meant to keep you up to date on issues related to vaccines quickly and easily. We welcome your comments and questions at

Announcements: Revised Q&A sheets and new webpage

Pertussis: What You Should Know

The pertussis Q&A is now available in an updated version, Volume 6, Spring 2020. The updates include the addition of Tdap for decennial tetanus-containing boosters, removal of text related to cocooning, and general updates. The updated version is available in English and Spanish, and can be ordered online.

Q&A sheets offered by the Vaccine Education Center (VEC) can be photocopied for sharing with patients and families. Links can also be added to websites or shared on social media platforms. Likewise, the VEC has free “prescription for information” pads that can be used to encourage families to seek specific information online after appointments. 

Vaccines on the Go: What You Should Know, the VEC’s free mobile app, also links to Q&A sheets. You can order free mobile app posters to post in the office or distribute in new patient packets or in office information libraries. Posters can be ordered in any quantity as often as needed.

Tetanus: What You Should Know

The tetanus Q&A has also been updated. Volume 2, Spring 2020 is now available in English to download or print. The sheet was updated to include Tdap for decennial boosters and to make general updates. 

Tetanus: What You Should Know is part of the VEC’s “Special Topics” series. The Q&As can be photocopied or links can be shared. For print copies of any sheets in this series, a special order can be placed by contacting the VEC at 215-590-9990 or 

New webpage — COVID-19: Catching Up on Recommended Vaccines and Visiting Healthcare Providers

The VEC website recently added a new page to help with parents’ questions related to catching up on vaccines and visiting healthcare provider offices during the pandemic. Titled “COVID-19: Catching Up on Recommended Vaccines and Visiting Healthcare Providers,” the page includes tips for scheduling appointments, age-specific considerations, and preparing for office visits. If you think this information will help your patients and families, please feel free to share the link on your website or social media posts.

News & views – Three current clinical issues resulting from COVID-19 and resources to help

Charlotte A. Moser, Assistant Director, and Paul A. Offit, Director, Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

COVID-19 has upended all aspects of life, creating a need for new approaches, additional resources, and a whole lot of patience. As society tries to return to some sense of normalcy, the issues that require attention change. The most pressing issues at this moment, and resources to help, include:

  1. COVID fatigue — People are gathering in crowds, not wearing masks, and trying to return to life as normal. Some are questioning whether it is better to intentionally expose one’s self and family to the virus to “get it over with.” All of these are concerning issues, particularly as cases rise and needs for medical resources, like ICU beds, near their limits.

    Go to article to see 3 related resources.
  2. Creating new policies and procedures for medical visits — Medical visits have decreased as people fear exposure to COVID-19, and practices have had to grapple with instituting new procedures and practices to keep staff and patients safe during the pandemic.

    Go to article to see 4 related resources.
  3. Catching up on routine immunizations — During the shutdown, many children fell behind on routine vaccinations. Further, as people continue to have concerns about COVID-19 exposure, they may wonder about forgoing routine visits. In order to prevent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, it is important to actively work toward catching up and keeping up with routine immunizations.

    Go to article to see 3 related resources.

Full article also includes information about:

  • A new COVID-19 repository offered on the Immunization Coalitions Network website and maintained by the Immunization Action Coalition. 
  • A series of webinars related to particular subgroups and COVID-19, offered by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID).

In the journals – Susceptibility of children to COVID-19

Paul A. Offit, MD, Director, Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Children account for less than 2% of identified cases of COVID-19 and an even lesser percentage of deaths. In addition, when children are infected, they often have fewer and less severe symptoms. Why? One possibility is that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is less able to bind to the epithelial cells that line a child’s nose and throat.

To test this hypothesis, researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, looked retrospectively at samples of nasal epithelium that had been collected between 2015 and 2018 in people 4 to 60 years of age as part of an asthma study. 

See what they found, and get the article reference and link.

Technically speaking — Preventing preventable vaccine administration errors in your medical setting 

Deborah L. Wexler, MD, Executive Director, Immunization Action Coalition

It’s a dreaded scenario. Suddenly one of your staff members comes into your office and says, “We have a problem. We’ve given the wrong vaccine to one of our patients.” Or even worse, they might begin to describe errors with multiple vaccines or multiple patients or both. No one ever wants this scene to play out in their medical setting.

So how do you prevent these preventable errors?  

Check out the article to find out how to prevent 11 of the most common errors and to get information about helpful resources.

From the media — COVID-19 and the media: The role of journalism in a global pandemic

The combination of this unprecedented pandemic and the 24/7 news cycle has created a situation in which the media is under pressure to present information that is still in the midst of being scientifically understood to a public hungry for information. One result of this has been reports of information that have yet to be vetted using the typical rigors of the scientific process. 

In this approximately 1 1/2-hour webinar, presented by UC Berkeley, Ed Wasserman, Dean of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, and John Swartzberg, Professor Emeritus of Public Health, discussed the important work occurring at the intersection of science and journalism.

View the event. 

On the calendar

Check out the calendar for changes to the fall 2020 conference schedule. 

On the bookshelf – The Vaccine Handbook by Gary S. Marshall, MD

It’s called “The Purple Book” — another vaccine-related book commonly referred to by the color of its cover. Do you use it? If not, read on to find out how this resource can be helpful for getting quick answers to vaccine questions. If so, you’ll be excited to know a new edition is now available.

The ninth edition of The Vaccine Handbook: A Practical Guide for Clinicians, a.k.a. “The Purple Book,” was recently released. Written by Gary Marshall, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, this pocket-sized guide is useful for quick reference in the clinical setting. With several chapters that discuss vaccine science and practice, the book offers both contextual and practice-relevant information in easy-to-follow prose. Likewise, vaccine-specific chapters offer information about each disease, available vaccines to protect against disease, and vaccine recommendations.

A free mobile app is also available for smartphones. Called The Vaccine Handbook App, it allows users to find information of interest by chapter or section. The app also contains links to tables and figures and to external resources, like the CDC.

Learn more, watch a video with the author, or order the book from the publisher.  

Vaccine resources: Special “It’s not all about COVID-19” resources post

With so much attention on the current situation with COVID-19, other important efforts may be overlooked. So, the June “Resources” section is devoted to non-COVID-19-related resources that should not be overlooked:
  • An analysis of Medicare expenditures between 2016 and 2018 found that more than $106 billion (with a “b”) were spent treating diseases that could be prevented with existing or candidate vaccines. Completed by Avalere, the analysis also evaluated influenza vaccine uptake between 2009-2010 and 2017-2018, and although they found an increase in vaccination rates, the percent change over nine seasons was less than 10%. And, the percent of eligible recipients who received influenza vaccine was only slightly more than 50% in the most recent year analyzed. Uptake for other vaccines routinely recommended for those 65 years and older was even more dismal. Check out the summary report and figures. 
  • The Lancet Infectious Diseases recently published a systematic review of vaccine safety. The review updates the 2012 Institute of Medicine and 2014 Agency for Healthcare and Quality reports. Check out the article summary. 
  • The International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC), based at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, recently released a new “Value of Immunization Compendium of Evidence,” or VoICE, report on the benefits of maternal immunizations. Check out the content, including several useful graphs. 
Access this article online
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Twitter Instagram Facebook YouTube
View our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy »
Copyright © 2020 Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, All rights reserved.