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North Carolina Immunization Branch

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Promoting Flu Vaccine During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Influenza (flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses and required separate vaccines.  Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for everyone aged 6 months and older to decrease illness and death caused by influenza. Getting up to date, and staying up to date with the COVID-19 vaccination is also important  

During the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the overall burden of respiratory illnesses is important to protect vulnerable populations at risk for severe illness, our healthcare system, and other critical infrastructure, such as people who work in transportation, food services, and emergency services. CDC recommends that healthcare personnel use every opportunity during the influenza season to administer influenza vaccines to all eligible persons, including:

  • Essential workers: Healthcare personnel, including staff in post-acute and long-term care facilities, as well as pharmacy staff, and other critical workers.
  • Persons at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19: Including adults aged 65 years and older, residents in post-acute and long-term care facilities, and persons of all ages with certain underlying medical conditions. COVID-19 has unequally affected many racial and ethnic minority groups, putting them more at risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19.
  • Persons at high risk for influenza complications: Including infants aged 6 months and older and young children less than 5 years of age, children with neurologic conditions, pregnant people, adults aged 65 years and older, and other persons with certain underlying medical conditions.

Healthcare personnel should consult current influenza vaccine recommendations for guidance around the timing of administration and use of specific vaccines.

2020 Pink Book Series

CDC is offering a series of weekly one-hour web-on-demand videos that will provide an overview of vaccination principles, general best practices, immunization strategies, and specific information about vaccine-preventable diseases and the vaccines that prevent them. There is no registration process to view the sessions. The link to each course can be accessed on/after the indicated date. Please visit the Pink Book series page for the schedule and additional information. Continuing Education (CE) will be available for each event.

Routine Immunizations During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused healthcare personnel to change how they operate to continue providing essential services, including administration of routine vaccines

Because of COVID-19-related reductions in people accessing vaccination services, it is important to assess the vaccination status of all patients – across the lifespan – at each visit to avoid missed opportunities for vaccination and ensure timely vaccine catch-up. All vaccines due or overdue should be administered according to the recommended CDC immunization schedules during each visit.

  • Children and adolescents: Healthcare personnel should identify children who have missed recommended vaccinations and contact parents to schedule in-person appointments.   Well-child visits, sick visits, and back-to-school checkups are opportunities for catch-up vaccination. Additional guidance is available for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B during COVID-19-related disruptions.
  • Pregnant people: If recommended maternal vaccines (tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis [Tdap] and influenza) have been delayed because of deferred in-person prenatal care visits, pregnant people should be scheduled for follow-up and receive vaccination during the next in-person appointment.
  • Adults: Healthcare personnel—whether they administer vaccines or not—should take steps to ensure their patients continue to receive vaccines according to the Standards for Adult Immunization Practice. If vaccination is deferred, older adults and adults with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for complications of vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • COVID-19 vaccines may be coadministered with other vaccines – on the same day, as well as within 14 days of each other. 

Here is a collection of up-to-date federal resources designed to guide vaccine planning during the COVID-19 pandemic, including Interim Guidance for Immunization Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic, as well as COVID-19 Vaccination Clinical & Professional Resources.

Immunization Training for Healthcare Providers

CDC offers education and training programs for healthcare personnel, many with continuing education credits/contact hours available. A variety of topics and formats, based on vaccine recommendations made by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP), are available.  These include:

  • CDC’s Pink Book Series. These one-hour, web-on-demand videos provide an overview of vaccination principles, general best practices, immunization strategies, and specific information about vaccine-preventable diseases and the vaccines that prevent them. 
  • Current Issues in Immunization. These live, one-hour presentations, collectively titled “Current Issues in Immunization,” are scheduled 4 to 5 times per year. Specific topics are announced prior to each occurrence. Presented by the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, these webinars and designed to provide clinicians with the most up-to-date information on immunizations.
  • Training and Continuing Education Online (TCEO). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hosts an extensive series of educational opportunities on the Training and Continuing Education Online (TCEO) section of its web page. You can search for courses and sign up for continuing education credits on the TCEO site.
  • Immunization Courses: Webcasts and Self Study.  CDC has created a range of web-on-demand, self-paced module for healthcare providers on critical immunization topics including COVID-19, Influenza, HPV and more.
  • CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).  Health care providers also can earn continuing education credits by reading almost any recent edition of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) and completing a short quiz. Find out more here.

The North Carolina Immunization Branch also hosts trainings and offers other resources including a quality improvement program for healthcare providers and a listing of courses designed to meet annual VFC educational requirement.

North Carolina Immunization Program (NCIP) Requirements

Review the basics of the NCIP, learn how to join and what’s required of an enrolled provider. Access links to important documents like the NCIP Coverage Criteria, NCIP Coverage Criteria Supplement and memos from the Immunization Branch, vaccine storage and handling resources, vaccine information statements and resources on reporting vaccine preventable diseases in North Carolina.

NCIP Provider Resource Guide

A printable guide to everything you need to know about the NCIP and NCIR.

i. Table of Contents (Updated June 2018)
I. Contact Information (Updated September 10, 2020)
II. NCIP Program Information (Updated January 2018)
III. Clinical and Administrative (Updated March 23, 2022)
IV. Storage & Handling (Updated April 20, 2021)
V. Communicable Disease Reporting & Law (Updated April 20, 2021)
VI. Resources (Updated January 2018)
VII. North Carolina Immunization Registry (NCIR) (Updated March 2022)

North Carolina Immunization Registry (NCIR)

Learn about the NCIR and how it can help your practice track immunizations and identify patients who need vaccinations. 

Resources

 


NCDHHS


Updated: March 23, 2022