Category Archives: Oregon Immunization

General Immunization news that addresses Immunization efforts at a state-wide level.

Registration for Bend and Seaside Immunize Oregon Round Tables Now Open!

The Immunize Oregon 2014 Round Tables will take place in Seaside, Oregon on March 18th and in Bend, Oregon on April 22nd. These are free, daylong conferences on immunization and health infrastructure, policy and resources. We encourage clinicians and clinic staff, health care administrators, nursing and pharmacy students, health advocates, immunization coordinators, health students, and other immunization stakeholders to attend! Registration for both the Seaside and Bend Round Tables is open! The events will cover the same or similar material, so we only recommend registering for one event.  

To get more information, including a draft agenda, please visit

To register for the Seaside Round Table, please visit

To register for the Bend Round Table, please visit

If you have any questions, please contact

Employment Opportunities
To share any employment opportunities, please email
Washington County is seeking a Community Health Nurse-Immunization Coordinator. Please click here to find out more information.

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There’s No Such Thing as “Flu Season”

by Amanda Timmons




We all know that flu activity in Oregon varies from month-to-month with cases peaking in January or February of most years. In the news media, and in many clinics, the winter months are collectively called “flu season.”  This reinforces the belief that you can’t get the flu in the spring or summer. 

Oregon sees a baseline number of flu cases all year long.  Plus, Oregonian travelers visit locations around the globe. In the temperate regions of the southern hemisphere, flu activity increases in May and continues during our summer, peaking around September. Flu cases in the tropics peak during the rainy season, usually in June or July. Cruise ships are frequently in the news for disease outbreaks. Recently, the culprit appears to be gastroenteritis-causing norovirus, but influenza is also a commonly carried passenger.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows that flu isn’t just a winter virus.  Between May 19 and September 28, 2013, the United States saw 2,013 cases of laboratory-confirmed influenza.  It isn’t too late to protect your patients with flu vaccine, even if the numbers of cases in our area are decreasing. Most flu vaccine doesn’t expire until June 30 and it’s important not to waste it. Now is the perfect time to administer the second dose of flu vaccine to children who need two doses but have only had one this year.  Plus, this is an opportunity to vaccinate and educate anyone who hasn’t had a flu shot yet.  The CDC recommends that everyone six months and older receive an annual flu shot -even if they tell you that “flu season” is over. 


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Registration now Open for Immunize Oregon Seaside Round Table and National Conference on Immunization and Health Coalitions

Immunize Oregon Round Tables


The Immunize Oregon 2014 Round Tables will take place in Seaside, Oregon on March 18th and in Bend, Oregon in late April. This is a free, daylong conference on immunization and health infrastructure, policy and resources. Registration for the Seaside Round Tables is open! Registration for the Bend Round Table will be available shortly. The events will cover the same or similar material, so we only recommend registering for one event.  

To get more information, including a draft agenda, please visit

To register for the Seaside Round Table, please visit

If you have any questions, please contact


National Conference on Immunization and Health Coalitions

The 11th National Conference on Immunization and Health Coalitions will be held in Seattle, Washington from May 21st – 23rd, 2014.

Early-bird registration discounts end on Friday, February 14th, so be sure to register soon! Hotel reservations are also available.

Please take a look at the program agenda. We hope you will join us for sessions on topics ranging from social media to quality improvement. We’ll welcome keynote speakers Dr. Bill Foege on disease eradication, Dr. Ed Marcuse on immunization, David Williams on health equity, and Sara Rosenbaum on the Affordable Care Act.

If you have any questions about the conference or would like to be involved with conference planning, please contact Sara Jaye Sanford, MPH, at (206) 830-5175.

Employment Opportunities

To share any employment opportunities, please email

Woodburn Pediatric Clinic is hiring and RN, please contact Mayela HR or Jodi RN at and both available at 503-981-5348.

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Oregon Immunization Program Comings and Goings

The Oregon Immunization would like to welcome two new additions to the team, and wish a happy retirement to another!



Lincoln, Benton, Linn, Douglas, Klamath and Lake Counties have a new health educator.  Sydney Running also now covers the Legacy Health System VFC provider sites. She is passionate about improving wellness and optimizing potential in herself and others. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Promotion and Education from Oregon State University, where she also raced for the triathlon team.  She has focused her career on preventative and well-rounded health. Before coming to the Oregon Immunization Program, she worked at Oregon Health and Sciences University on a research study aimed at improving health and wellness among commercial truck drivers.  In her spare time, she is a cyclist who races at a competitive level and adventures outside as much as possible. You can reach Sydney at


Allie Ryan is now the health educator for Hood River, North Central, Morrow, Wheeler, Grant, Jackson and Josephine counties, as well as the Oregon Youth Authority. She grew up in the Portland area (West Linn) attended Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree.  After college, she received her MPH from the University of Texas in Houston.  She  returned to Portland in 2012 and worked for a year at Oregon Health Authority’s Acute and Communicable Disease Prevention program, coordinating a Tdap study before joining the Immunization Program.  In her free time, she enjoys running and hiking, participating in a book club, and spoiling her nephew. Allie’s contact is

And now, onto the goodbye.


Rick Leiker will retire after working with a number of programs at the Oregon Public Health Division (PHD) for nearly 25 years.   Most recently he has served as a Research Analyst with the Oregon Immunization Program (OIP).

Rick started at PHD in 1989, conducting an occupational blood exposure study for emergency personnel. He then worked on implementing the Hazardous Substances Emergency Event Surveillance System in Oregon.

Rick has spent a large part of his PHD career as part of the Lead Program. He conducted lead poisoning surveillance, educated the public, and served as part of a team that helped pass lead safety legislation related to Renovation, Repair and Painting of older housing. His work has protected many children from lead poisoning.

One of Rick’s greatest accomplishments was investigating a lead poisoning case involving a lead toy necklace. A young boy swallowed a necklace from a vending machine and soon became ill. After the necklace tested positive for lead, the case was taken to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. As a result, over 150 million toys containing lead were taken out of circulation.

While with the Drinking Water Program, Rick and his team convinced the Portland Water Bureau to allocate money for lead screenings. Rick also worked to provide free lead testing for vulnerable populations.The Environmental Health Section houses a collection that reflects many accomplishments from Rick’s career. The display is full of lead hazards discovered in Oregon. These items include pottery, toys, even candy.

Rick has spent the past three years working in OIP where he is known for his experience and knowledge. “Rick has an uncanny sense about just the right information to look for to help us find solutions to problems.  I learned early on to really enjoy watching his brain work. I’m going to miss his intuitive know-how!” says Vaccines for Children manger Mimi Luther.

Rick is also known for sharing his delicious homemade caramels with the staff, a treat that many look forward to during potlucks. Rick will be missed for all his contributions to many Public Health Division programs.


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Immunizations and Cover Oregon

Submitted by Betse Thielman

As you gear up for immunization clinics–especially as we face the February 19th school exclusion deadline–please consider including Cover Oregon on your team! 

Cover Oregon is a marketplace where people can shop for health insurance and apply for financial help to pay for coverage.  It includes health coverage from private insurers and public programs like Healthy Kids and Medicaid.  All plans offered through Cover Oregon cover ten essential health benefits including preventive care (like immunizations), provider visits, hospital stays, maternity care, emergency room care, prescriptions, mental health services, dental and vision coverage for kids and more.  Open enrollment for commercial insurance is October-March and year-round for public medical programs.  

Many health departments employ outreach and enrollment workers, also known as “assisters,” who are trained to help patients enroll in health insurance.  For health departments that do not have this capacity, however, there are certified community partners and insurance agents in every County who would be pleased to work with your patients during your immunization clinic and beyond.  To locate a community partner or agent near you, please visit

If you have questions, please contact Betse Thielman, Provider Campaign Coordinator for OHA/Cover Oregon, at (971) 301-3168 or at  Thank you, and Happy New Year!


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Flu Facts and Updates, Upcoming Immunize Oregon Meeting

Flu Facts and Updates

As of Dec. 14, more than 800,000 people in Oregon (about 32 percent) have received flu vaccine, which is slightly more than this time last year. As of Jan. 1, there have been at least 179 influenza-related hospitalizations in the Portland metro area. 

Last season, 167 children died from influenza in the US; as of Dec. 27, there have been 6 reported pediatric deaths from the flu this season (2013-14). 

In 2012-13, there were 380,000 flu hospitalizations in the US. The most vulnerable populations are people age 65 and older, and children under age 5. 

The CDC reports that the components included in this season’s vaccine match the strains that are now circulating. The vaccine can also decrease the severity of illness in those who do become ill, and may prevent hospitalization and death. 

Given the resurgence of H1N1 this season, we expect that the same people who were at risk for flu complications during the 2009 pandemic will also be adversely impacted this flu season. This includes younger adults and children, people with chronic medical conditions and pregnant women. This season, most influenza hospitalizations have been among middle age and younger adults. Some hospitalizations have been severe, including ICU Admissions and death. 

Flu vaccine is available from health care providers, local health departments, community clinics and many pharmacies (for people 11 and older). Some pharmacies can also immunize children under 11 with a prescription. To locate a flu vaccine near you, visit, or call 211. For the latest in Oregon flu activity, read FluBites


Upcoming Immunize Oregon Meeting

Coalition Meeting- All Are Welcome!
(Lunch provided)
Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
11:45 A.M. – 2:00 P.M.
800 NE Oregon St. Room 1A
Portland, Oregon 97232
Join us on the phone
1-888-431-3632 Access Code: 2626704

RSVP REQUIRED for in-person or webinar attendance. Please RSVP
to Katherine McGuiness at

At this meeting, learn about: 

  • Immunize Oregon’s 2014 plan
  • A campaign led by Oregon Health Sciences University medical students to
    vaccinate the families of pregnant women with Influenza and Tetanus
    Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap)

  • One Key Question, an initiative from the Oregon Foundation for
    Reproductive Health that works to ensure women and families are healthier
    and that more pregnancies are wanted, planned and as healthy as possible.

  • Research about nursing student’s attitudes around Influenza
    vaccine in the United Kingdom

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ALERT IIS Kicks Off Statewide Recall

This month, ALERT IIS reached another milestone when it kicked off statewide recall for 22 month olds. “Oftentimes parents simply don’t know that their child is past due for immunizations,” said Mary Beth Kurilo, Director of ALERT IIS. “Reminding parents that immunizations are needed through recall is a proven strategy to improve immunization coverage.”

ALERT IIS will send notices each month to the parents or guardians of 22 month olds who are past due for immunizations. Some significant improvements have been made over ALERT’s previous statewide recall process. First, clinics now receive their list of 22 month olds who need immunizations through ALERT IIS. There’s less paper to shuffle, and it’s easy for staff to make corrections to records directly in ALERT IIS. Second, ALERT IIS now sends a letter to parents or guardians with their child’s immunization record and a list of which specific vaccines are needed, instead of a generic postcard to all parents.

Below are answers to common questions about reminder/recall, and steps you can take within your own clinic to improve immunization coverage through reminder/recall. 

What is reminder/recall?

Notifying patients that immunizations are due (reminder) or past due (recall). Reminder/recall can occur at the state level, like ALERT IIS’s 22 month recalls, or at the individual clinic level. ALERT IIS has many tools available to providers who want to do reminder/recall.

Typically, clinics that conduct reminder/recall target a segment of their patient population with lower immunization rates. For example, clinics may opt to conduct reminder/recall for adolescents who have not completed the HPV series, or kindergartners who are missing a second dose of MMR.  These clinics use ALERT IIS or their electronic health record (EHR) to create a list of patients who are due or past due. These patients are then contacted and encouraged to schedule an appointment to be immunized. Clinics can choose to contact patients by telephone, letter, email, or text message – whatever makes the most sense for the clinic and its patients.

Why is reminder/recall important?

Oftentimes patients simply don’t know that they need immunizations. Reminder/recall makes them aware, and provides them with information about where to go to receive immunizations.

Since 1997, many studies have demonstrated the impact of clinic-based reminder/recall. Reminder/recall improves immunization coverage for children, adolescents, or adults, and across a wide span of clinical settings[i].

Also, doing reminder/recall for immunizations is a great way to identify patients who need to come in for well child visits or other services[ii].

If the state immunization program does recall, should my clinic do reminder/recall on its own?


The ALERT IIS statewide recall only catches 22 month olds who are not up-to-date on immunizations.

You can conduct reminder/recalls for any segment of your patient population – 18 month olds who have not received a 4th DTaP, 13 year olds who need a meningococcal vaccine, or adults who have only received one dose of hepatitis A. And you can choose the reminder/recall schedule for your clinic that makes the most sense. While monthly notices are great, your clinic may opt to send notices quarterly, or even just a couple times each year. The possibilities are endless.

Can you tell us about a clinic in Oregon that has successfully used reminder/recall to improve immunization rates?


The quiet, historic town of Dallas, Oregon is nestled amidst the vineyards and wineries of the Willamette Valley. Dallas Family Medicine has been providing primary care services to the community for more than 60 years.

Dallas Family Medicine has used a recall system for many years, sending post card reminders to patients. Under HIPAA laws, Dallas Family Medicine staff could no longer send specific patient information on a post card, and they found their system to be less effective than in the past.

Faith Shinn, an RN who has worked at Dallas Family Medicine for over 22 years, recently decided to attend a webinar to learn about the ALERT IIS reminder/recall system.

“After attending the webinar,” said Shinn, “I realized that our adolescents were falling through the cracks.” Faith worked with ALERT IIS staff to run a reminder/recall report on her adolescent patients and to send out letters with their immunization history and needed immunizations.

Dallas Family Medicine took the opportunity to also recommend an adolescent well visit for these patients. As Faith explained, many of these patients hadn’t been seen in many years because they were generally healthy, and parents sometimes forget that well visits are due.

Approximately 30 percent of the adolescents who received a reminder/recall notice scheduled an appointment for immunizations and a well visit. “This was a huge success for our clinic,” said Shinn. “Many of these patients had a well visit, and many are now completely up-to-date on recommended vaccinations.”

The staff at Dallas Family Medicine are keeping the momentum going by using a new software program to recall children and adolescents, along with the ALERT IIS 22 month recall and their postcard system. Said Shinn, “Immunization status is used for benchmarking and reporting, but most importantly to keep our kids healthy. A good recall system is imperative to keeping our kids and families immunized.”

Kudos to the staff at Dallas Family Medicine! We appreciate all you do to keep your patients and community healthy.

Do you have resources to help?


ALERT IIS routinely offers reminder/recall webinars to train clinic staff on how to use these reports in ALERT. Sign up for a webinar at:

Interested in conducting reminder/recall for your adolescent patients? Oregon Immunization Program is currently conducting a special project to support clinics doing adolescent reminder/recall. And, even better, by participating in this project, we’ll help cover the cost of postage for reminder/recall letters sent to your patients.

Or, contact your Oregon immunization program health educator. They can help you identify patient populations within your clinic with lower immunization rates, generate reminder/recall reports in ALERT IIS, and develop workflows for how to integrate reminder/recall into your day-to-day work.

Interested in the research? Check out the Guide to Community Preventive Services at:


[i] The Guide to Community Preventive Services, Increasing Appropriate Vaccination: Client Reminder and Recall Systems,, (December 24, 2013).

[ii] Christina A. Suh, Alison Saville, Matthew F. Daley, Judith E. Glazner, Jennifer barrow, Shannon Stokley, Fran Dong, Brenda Beaty, L. Miriam Dickinson, and Allison Kempe, Effectiveness and Net Cost of Reminder/Recall for Adolescent Immunizations, Pediatrics, (December 24, 2013).


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