Category Archives: Oregon Immunization

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

Yamhill County’s Immunization Coordinator Retires after Nearly 30 Years in Public Health

by Yuliya Goldman

Bev Fristad, Yamhill County’s Immunization Coordinator, will retire after a nearly 30 year public health career. Bev started in public health in 1985 as a Public Health Nurse at Crook County Health Department.  She oversaw several public health programs including immunization, WIC, STD, Family Planning, and well-child visits. 

Next, Bev worked in Southwest District Public Health in Caldwell, Idaho before moving back to Oregon. Prior to starting at Yamhill, Bev briefly worked at Oregon School for the Deaf and Oregon School for the Blind and Polk County Public Health. She’s been at Yamhill County Public Health the last five years.

Before starting her public health work, Bev worked as a hospital nurse. Originally, she had not intended to go into public health, taking the job as a Public Health Nurse only because it was a nursing job close to home. However, Bev fell in love with her job. “I felt like I found my niche,” Bev said.

Bev values making an impact with her work. She enjoys the education and preparedness aspects of her work. Bev said that she will miss her patients the most and that her work has became a part of her.

Her dedication is apparent to those who have had the opportunity to work closely with her. “Bev has been a joy to work with!” said Tuesday Graham, VFC Health Educator. “She is an incredibly hard worker, doing whatever it takes to make sure her community is protected from vaccine preventable diseases.”

Throughout the years, Bev has worked in a number of public health areas, often simultaneously. However, she has been involved in immunization in some capacity through her entire public health career. Bev has seen the vaccine schedule evolve throughout the years from just a few vaccines to the vaccines recommended today.

After retirement, Bev plans to move to Vancouver, WA to help take care of her grandchildren. While in Vancouver, she would also like to get involved with the local women’s ministries. The public health community is grateful to Bev for all her contributions to the field and wishes her the best in all her upcoming adventures!

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When it Comes to Exemptions, Let’s Not be Special

by Sara Beaudrault

In Oregon, we celebrate all the little things that make us special. We have more ghost towns than any other state in the country. We’re one of only two states where someone still pumps our gas for us. And we’re the only state in the nation that has an official state nut. (It’s the hazelnut, by the way).

But when we’re talking about our children’s health, there’s one fact about Oregon that makes us worry, not celebrate. In Oregon, more parents of kindergartners sign exemptions to school- and childcare-required vaccines than in any other state in the nation.

Exemption rates in Oregon have steadily crept up over the past decade, with greater than six percent of kindergartners having an exemption to at least one vaccine during the 2012-13 school year. Some counties have exemption rates as high as 15 percent! People in these communities are at risk, should a vaccine-preventable disease strike their area.

A new law went into effect on March 1, 2014. The hope is that it will slow this trend.

This new nonmedical exemption law changes the process for parents who choose to exempt their child from vaccines required for school and childcare attendance. Parents now must provide documentation that they have received information about vaccine risks and benefits before signing an exemption. Oregon is among the first states in the nation to strengthen existing exemption laws by requiring parents to review science-based immunization information before signing an exemption.    

“We want to make sure parents and guardians receive science-based information about the benefits and risks of vaccine,” said Stacy de Assis Matthews, school law coordinator for the Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Division Immunization Program. “There is a lot of misinformation out there.”

The nonmedical exemption law gives parents two choices for receiving vaccine education. They can talk to a healthcare practitioner, who can sign a Vaccine Education Certificate. Or parents can view an online vaccine education module and print a vaccine Education Certificate at the end of the module. Whichever option they choose, parents must turn the Vaccine Education Certificate in at their child’s school or childcare, along with the Certificate of Immunization Status.

 “We hope this law serves to strengthen existing relationships between parents and their healthcare providers,” says Lydia Emer, Oregon Immunization Program manager. “Most parents trust their child’s healthcare provider, and will follow their recommendations. This law provides another opportunity for parents who have concerns about vaccines to talk to their provider.”

The online vaccine education module is a great option for parents who would prefer to receive their Vaccine Education Certificate online, or whose healthcare provider does not supply this Certificate. Although the online module has only been available since March 1, early feedback from parents and clinic staff has been overwhelmingly positive.

Oregon’s new nonmedical law affects so many in Oregon: parents, students, people who can’t be vaccinated, and babies too young to be vaccinated. If all of us who work in schools, healthcare settings, or more broadly in the field of immunizations pull together, Oregon’s nonmedical exemption law will effectively reduce our state’s exemption rates. Because when it comes to exemption rates, we don’t want to be so special.  

Want to learn more about the new nonmedical exemption process? Information and resources for parents, healthcare providers, and school and childcare staff are available at And stay tuned for next week’s ImmiNews article for the “Top 10 Questions About Nonmedical Exemptions, Answered.”


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Got a Cold or the Flu? Antibiotics won’t work for you!

by Tessa Jaqua, AWARE Program Coordinator

Colds and the flu are hitting the northwest particularly hard this year. We are all seemingly surrounded by a cacophony of sniffling, sneezing, and yes, even some snorting. Individuals are eager to have everyone feel better and calm restored to immune systems everywhere. Out of all remedies that people try there is one often requested remedy not only that won’t help anyone feel better faster, but could also put you at risk of a more serious illness later: antibiotics. 



(Image Courtesy of

It’s true that antibiotics are miracle drugs, capable of battling once fatal or crippling bacterial infections. Yet, antibiotics are only good for just that: bacterial infections. Antibiotics do not work for viral infections and colds and the flu are both caused by viruses. Yet, providers continue to prescribe antibiotics for these infections and patients continue to ask for them even though they will have little to no effect on their symptoms. In fact, flu researchers in Boston found that from 1995 through 2002, a 26 percent of patients who were diagnosed with flu were prescribed antibiotics (Linder et al. 2005). This excluded people whose diagnosis could include a bacterial infection, such as pneumonia, the only plausible reason to prescribe antibiotics when they have the flu. While these numbers may not seem huge by themselves, if you do the math there are anywhere from 2 to 4 million people who visit doctors’ offices for flu every year. That means when you add these together that there are 500,000 to 1 million antibiotic prescriptions every year with no possible benefit to patients.

This many unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions for cold or flu patients each year puts a strain on our already weakened antibiotic efficacy.  Each time an antibiotic is used improperly there is a risk of killing important “commensal” or healthy bacteria. This leaves the body open to  resistant bacterial strains multiplying if/when bacterial infections, like pneumonia, actually do strike.

There are ways to combat antibiotics overuse, starting with individuals. No one enjoys being sick and our schedules don’t allow us a lot of time to recover, but the best ways to prevent and lessen the duration of colds and the flu start at home.

How do I stop a cold or the flu from starting?

  • Wash your hands!  Remember to wash for 20 seconds and dry hands thoroughly. 
  • Get your flu vaccination every year.
  • Avoid close contact with others with colds and the flu.

How can I treat my cold or the flu?

  • TIME! Colds last 7 to 14 days
  • Drink plenty of fluids (water, juice, clear broth, warm water with honey)
  • 8 hours or more of sleep a night
  • Breathe steam from shower or bath to loosen mucus
  • Rinse inside of nose with saline nasal rinse
  • Avoid cigarette smoke
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) as directed for fever or pain
  • If necessary, take a decongestant to relieve cold symptoms (only for those over 6 years of age)

Every time antibiotics are used incorrectly it puts all at risk of developing a resistant infection and diminishes antibiotic effectiveness in the future.  We all have a role to play in preserving our antibiotic resources. Patients, healthcare providers, hospital administrators, industry, policy makers and the general public can work together to promote appropriate antibiotic use – ultimately saving lives. So this cold and flu season, think twice before asking for or prescribing antibiotics, so we can all feel better today, tomorrow, and in the future.  


For more information on antibiotic resistance or cold and flu prevention visit:  or



Gelband, Helen. “”Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Extending The Cure, 01 Oct 2009. Web. 18 Feb 2014.


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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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