Tag Archives: VFC

Meningococcal B Update for Oregon Providers

This message comes to you as an update on the meningococcal disease outbreak at the University of Oregon, including some recommendations for you for the upcoming spring break when we expect many UofO students to head home to other areas of the state.

Outbreak Update:

There is an outbreak of serogroup B meningococcal disease at the University of Oregon. There have been 5 confirmed cases among University of Oregon undergraduates since January of this year, one of which was fatal. Ongoing vaccination efforts have vaccinated about 9,000 undergraduates to date, but the goal is to vaccinate all (22,000) undergraduates, and all University of Oregon graduate students and staff with immune deficiencies.

What you need to know:

  • Both Trumenba (Pfizer) and Bexsero (Novartis) vaccines are available on the private market for providers to purchase.
  • Spring break is Friday, March 20th through Sunday, March 29th. Students may be  returning home and seeking vaccination or may present to care.
  • Current standing orders exist for pharmacies to vaccinate all University of Oregon undergraduates due to the outbreak.
  • Undergraduate students of any age from other colleges/universities who live at the 13th & Olive apartments (Capstone buildings) in Eugene are also covered by the standing orders.
  • Others who should be vaccinated are staff or graduate students at the University of Oregon who live in campus residence halls, fraternities or sororities, or who are high risk (those with asplenia, sickle cell disease, or terminal complement component deficiency).
  • Serogroup B vaccine is available at Walgreens, Safeway and Albertsons stores near the University of Oregon. Individuals seeking vaccination outside the Eugene area should call ahead to their local pharmacy, and if the vaccine is not in stock it can be ordered within a day or so.
  • Most insurance companies, including Oregon’s Medicaid CCO Plans, have been paying for the vaccine as given by local pharmacies.
  • Some students may be seeking the first dose, or the second dose. Individuals should stick with one vaccine brand for the series whenever possible.
  • All students who have had the disease to date did not present with classic meningeal signs, but with disseminated meningococcal disease found on blood culture. Other presenting symptoms include fever and rash.

Please be aware of this situation and let returning students and concerned parents know where they can get vaccinated, and who the vaccine is currently recommended for.

Will the newly licensed mening B vaccines be available through the Vaccines For Children (VFC) program?

Yes, probably in late April.  We will keep you posted.  The vaccines will be available for any VFC-eligible child (through age 18) with one of the high-risk conditions listed in our current model standing order.  Those are:


  1. Approved for the following high‐risk individuals ≥10 years of age. Those with:

 functional or anatomic asplenia

 sickle cell disease

 terminal complement component deficiency (e.g., C5–C9, properidin, factor H, factor D,

and patients taking Eculizumab [Soliris®]) AND

 microbiologists who work routinely with isolates of Neisseria meningitidis

  1. B. University of Oregon outbreak control (expires 6/30/2015):

Approved for the following individuals ≥11 years of age:

  • University of Oregon undergraduate students.
  • University of Oregon graduate students, faculty and staff who:
  1. live in campus residence halls, fraternities, or sororities
  2. who are at high risk (see above)

3.) Undergraduate students of any college living in the 13th & Olive apartments

(Capstone Buildings), including but not limited to undergraduates from the University

of Oregon, Lane Community College, and Northwest Christian University

  1. Others may be vaccinated only with a specific physician prescription.

Where can I find the current recommendations for the new vaccines?

You can find all of our model standing orders here:  https://public.health.oregon.gov/preventionwellness/vaccinesimmunization/immunizationproviderresources/pages/stdgordr.aspx

Should we have vaccine on hand now?

That is a decision for each clinic/health system/pharmacist.  Both vaccines are currently available for purchase on the private market.

I have questions; whom should I call?

Your local health department! You can find contact information here: https://public.health.oregon.gov/ProviderPartnerResources/LocalHealthDepartmentResources/Pages/lhd.aspx

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Filed under Oregon Immunization

Know Your Wire

By Albert Koroloff



Lately the Oregon VFC program has noticed an increase in provider calls about wild temperature fluctuations on continuous tracking logs.

Usually these types of calls lead us to suspect a bad compressor or fan, but not even the worst equipment failure could explain a drop to -150C in less than 10 minutes. No…these temperature anomalies seem to be coming from the data loggers themselves.

Through some keen investigational work (e.g. calling the vendor) we found that thermocouple wires bundled with some loggers are too fragile for commercial use. These thin wires tend to kink in the refrigerator/freezer door which leads to reading errors, most often presenting as impossibly large temperature jumps or dips.

Check to see if you’re using this style of wire by closely inspecting the outer sheath. If it’s a thin, loosely woven white nylon material, you win the prize. Unfortunately, the prize in this case is the recommendation to upgrade to a more robust wire. 



Better thermocouple probes can be purchased from many online vendors including Control Soultions at 888-311-0636.

If you’re a VFC clinic experiencing abnormal temperature events, take immediate action to secure your vaccine stock and then call your VFC health educator. We will help you troubleshoot the issue and rule out/in equipment failure as a cause.  

 Happy logging!  

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April 15, 2014 · 10:05 pm

Welcome Dawn and Jenny to OIP

Dawn Lee and Jenny Nones

OIP welcomes two new members to the family. Dawn Lee is the new grant administrative specialist and back-up for the ALERTIIS helpdesk. Dawn has a varied background that includes clerking for the Superior Court of Clark County, 20 years in construction engineering and working for the Vancouver School District. She is a native Washingtonian and lives in Clark County with her husband and three dogs. Her family also includes three boys and two grandkids. Dawn’s favorite activity is donning her leathers, climbing on her hog and riding into the sunset. That’s correct: Dawn is a Harley-ridin’ biker chick. Her favorite recent trip was the Laughlin River Run in Nevada where she also visited the Grand Canyon. Her dream ride is to someday participate in the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota’s Black Hills.

Jenny Nones is a fiscal analyst who will divide her work time between OIP and the State Public Health Laboratory. Jenny just finished her Master of Public Administration in Healthcare Administration. She moved around a lot as a kid, but calls Salt Lake City her hometown. Jenny moved to Oregon about three years ago and has embraced quilting and wine touring. Her favorite winery is Anne Amie, which she says has the best parties. Jenny is also an avid traveler. Her most memorable trip recently was walking 350 miles in 30 days along the Camino de Santiago in Spain. She says she always travels alone and that adventure is perfect for solo travelers.

More staff news: Congratulations to Jody Anderson. She has been promoted from her provider services team administrative support role to full-fledged health educator! Jody’s territory includes:
• Washington County
• Crook County
• Harney County
• Deschutes County
• Jefferson County
• all Indian Health Service/Tribal clinics
• all Planned Parenthood clinics
• all Virginia Garcia clinics

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Filed under ALERT IIS, All Posts, Oregon Immunization, VFC

Lorraine Duncan: Determined and dedicated

Lorraine Duncan

Lorraine Duncan

Sometimes a job defines the person, but in Lorraine Duncan’s case, the person defines the job. After 33 years as the Oregon Immunization Program’s manager, Lorraine is retiring. During her tenure—which has lasted exactly half her life—she has come to personify excellence in a state program that has risen to become a national leader.

Before starting her job with the state, Lorraine had a varied career in social services. Fresh out of college, she worked as an adult caseworker for Multnomah County Welfare for two years. “My caseload was on skid row,” she says. “It was a real eye opener for me.” She then worked in Las Vegas for a bit after her twin sister Lois lured her to live in Nevada. “My husband Robert couldn’t stand it! For someone from Oregon, it was impossible for him to live in a place where there isn’t a blade of grass except for Lake Mead. In the summer, when it got so hot the gas in our cars was boiling, he moved back to Oregon. I had to stay to finish out my contract.”

When she returned to Portland to reunite with Robert, Lorraine worked in a few venues, most notably as the director of special programs for the Portland Metropolitan Steering Committee on such projects as improving the health of African Americans and developing a healthcare precursor to the Oregon Health Plan.

On April 1, 1980, Lorraine became the program manager for OIP, a job that has lasted 33 years to the day. “We went from five employees with a tiny budget to 60 employees with a huge budget,” she says. When she started, there were only a few vaccines, no registry and no Vaccines for Children program. Some of Lorraine’s favorite accomplishments include helping to form coalitions and advisory groups such as the Oregon Partnership to Immunize Children (OPIC) as well as the Immunization Policy and Advisory Team (IPAT). “Those partnerships are so helpful. They’re a lot of work but they so pay off.” Lorraine is also proud of helping to build a statewide registry from scratch. Today, the ALERT IIS is considered one of the best immunization information systems in the country.

Lorraine is considered a superstar on the national immunization stage. “She has been a mentor to me in both program management and leadership in our national Association of Immunization Managers (AIM),” says Janna Bardi, Washington State’s immunization program manager. “I’ve really appreciated having one of the best immunization program managers in the nation right next door. Lorraine’s contributions to AIM are huge. She served as chair twice and made a suggestion for structuring quarterly leadership meetings with CDC that has greatly strengthened communication and relationships.”

Though Lorraine is well known and loved across the country, she is most admired and remembered by the people who have worked with her. Dr. David Fleming, public health officer for King County in Washington State, was OIP’s medical director before Dr. Paul Cieslak. “It’s hard to imagine that anyone could have done more to assure the health of Oregon children than Lorraine Duncan,” says Dr. Fleming. “And to have that dedication and skill packaged inside such a caring person brightened my day more times than I can count.”

The people who work with Lorraine on a daily basis feel very fortunate. Many mention her steadfast leadership and the way she pushes the program to achieve important new goals. “Lorraine’s mentorship has been invaluable. She’s taught me much about life in the world as a government agent with a real heart for those we serve. I will forever be grateful,” says Mimi Luther, OIP’s provider services manager who has worked with Lorraine for 15 years. “She’s an amazingly hard worker who truly values the input and creativity of those around her.” 

Lorraine is a notoriously dedicated supervisor. “I worked a lot of extra hours and I got a lot of flack for doing it,” she says. “But I liked doing it and I kept doing it.” She says that she is hardly ever sick and gets up every morning wanting to go to work. As proof of her dedication, she is retiring with an accumulation of 3,067 hours of sick leave!

 Lorraine also has a reputation for being extremely knowledgeable about all the complicated aspects of immunization. “I’m in awe of the number of details she’s able to keep in her head— about vaccines, grants, meeting deliberations, legislation. You’re going to have to hire three people to replace her,” says Dr. Paul Cieslak, OIP’s current medical director

Lorraine’s secret to her longevity in one job is simple: “I love coming to work. I love the people, I love my job. I love coming to work every day.” She isn’t worried about the program surviving after she leaves with such an “excellent staff.” But she does wonder what she will do in retirement when she leaves at the end of a six-month transition period in September. “Travel, of course (Lorraine and Robert are world travelers), but maybe I’ll find part-time work,” she says. “I can’t imagine not having a job.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Get ready! Oregon Immunization Program’s ImmiNews e-newsletter will now be coming at you every single Wednesday, full of the latest immunization news from across Oregon and the world! Tell your colleagues and friends.

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Filed under All Posts, Oregon Immunization, Public Health Heroes

The new health educators are here!

As many of you know, the Oregon Immunization/Vaccines for Children Program has been short staffed since last fall, but we finally received approval to fill the vacant public health educator positions. After reviewing and interviewing many highly qualified applicants, three rose to the top.  Please join us in welcoming our three newest team members:

Since August 2006, Tuesday Johnson served as a health educator with Deschutes County Health Department. As the program coordinator for HIV/hepatitis prevention, she was responsible for all things related to HIV and HCV testing, education and outreach. She ran the needle exchange program and conducted several educational presentations on HIV, viral hepatitis, STDs, communicable disease and harm reduction to various organizations in the community including drug treatment centers. During her last year with Deschutes, she took on communicable disease reporting and investigation.

Tuesday enjoys traveling and walking Roxie, her 6-year-old Maltipoo. She is excited to be in Portland as a new OIP team member, and most of all, she looks forward to getting to know all of our great immunization partners.
Tuesday will be assigned the counties of Clatsop, Tillamook, Yamhill, Polk and Marion. She will also be the contact for Providence Health System and Yakima Valley Farm Workers.

Phone: 971-673-0317

Email: Tuesday.a.johnson@state.or.us


Rex Larsen graduated from Portland State University with a BS in health studies focusing on physical activity and health education. Rex is passionate about preventive health and most recently was a health educator in residential psychiatric care covering a broad range of topics from hygiene and STI prevention to chronic disease management.

Rex is also an avid cyclist, racing short-track, mountain and cyclocross, as well as a coach for road cyclists and triathletes. Rex has long had an interest in infectious disease and epidemiology; as a youth his two favorite books were The Hot Zone and Deadly Feasts. He is very excited about his new position with OIP and looks forward to working with all of his new partner clinics.

Rex will be assigned the counties of Douglas, Klamath, Lake, Lincoln, Benton and Linn.

 Phone: 971-673-0298

Email: Rex.a.larsen@state.or.us


Mallory Metzger moved to Oregon almost four years ago to complete her MPH internship at Deschutes County Health Services. She thought her time in Oregon would be brief, but her 300-hour internship turned into two terms as an AmeriCorps HOPE member, an interim position as the HIV/hepatitis prevention coordinator, and some time with emergency preparedness—all in Deschutes County. Before moving to Oregon, she studied at Indiana University and worked at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion.

Mallory hails from a small town in western Massachusetts. Outside of work, Mallory enjoys cooking, backpacking, traveling, yoga and spending time with great friends.  She is very excited to join OIP and is looking forward to meeting everyone and doing great work! 

Mallory will be assigned the counties of Umatilla, Union, Baker, Malheur, Wallowa and Lane.

Phone: 971-673-0480

Email: Mallory.s.metzger@state.or.us


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Filed under All Posts, Oregon Immunization, VFC

New VFC Vaccine Ordering Site

Starting with your next VFC vaccine order, you’ll be able to place the order in ALERT (www.alertiis.org), the same site you use to look up patient information and possibly run reports and manage your inventory. You no longer need to remember a different website, log-in or password; your log-in to ALERT IIS is all you need!

Ordering is very straightforward. In fact, some providers have been using ALERT to order state-supplied vaccine for a few months already, as they helped us pilot test it to make sure everything goes smoothly. Simply click on the “Manage Orders” link in the left-hand blue menu bar under the Inventory section, and you’ll be taken to a page that will show a list of orders you have already placed, if any.

Then click on the “Create Order” button, scroll down and enter the amount of each vaccine you need. You’ll see a section at the top of the page where you could enter the inventory you have on hand, but please don’t use that function, it’s not required at this time. (If you submit monthly vaccine reports to us, continue to do so the same way you do now.)

To complete your order, click on the “Submit Order” button at the top of the page, and it will be sent to us for review and processing. View more detailed instructions here: http://bit.ly/vfcOrderingIIS

 Some standard tips on ordering VFC vaccine are to order the number of doses you need, not the number of vials or packages, and to order in quantities that meet your needs for your ordering tier. If you have any questions about ordering vaccine, contact your health educator at 971-673-0300.

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Alison and Kelly: two of a kind

Two members of our extended immunization family are changing roles, which often happens in the public health field. But the funny thing is, these two have a relationship that goes way back. Alison Alexander worked for four years as a Vaccines for Children (VFC) health educator for the Oregon Immunization Program. She is now the Oregon Adult Immunization Coalition coordinator. Kelly Martin, who has been with Marion County for 10 years (eight in the immunization program), is now changing jobs within the health department to work on such projects as Healthy Communities.

These two met about a decade ago when Alison was a student at North Salem High School and Kelly was the school’s teen pregnancy prevention program coordinator.  They worked together on a school program, STARS, and have been friends ever since. “I’ve been lucky to work with Alison throughout her time with the VFC program,” says Kelly. “Her calmness and get-things-done attitude has been a blessing to work with in a program that is always changing.”

Alison enjoyed working with Kelly too. “She’s a fun, flexible and understanding person,” she says. “Kelly is a go-getter, willing to take on any challenge and do her absolute best. She’s not afraid to make changes and get things done.”

According to Alison, Kelly “has great questions that stump me and keep me on my toes.” Kelly says, “Alison has always been approachable and never makes you feel like you’re asking too many questions.”

Though the two will no longer work side-by-side in the immunization field, they will still remain good friends and dedicated to public health. Best wishes to Alison and Kelly in their new roles.


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Filed under All Posts, OAIC, Public Clinics, VFC

Children’s Clinic takes an extra step to protect newborns

The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get immunized for influenza. But what about newborns who are too young to get vaccinated? Providers at The Children’s Clinic, a century-old Portland-metro area pediatric practice, are looking for a way to take care of those infants. “The most vulnerable children are too young to be vaccinated, so we looked for another way to protect them,” says Heather O’Leary, RN, BSN, Manager of Clinical Services at The Children’s Clinic. Their solution is to immunize the parents and caregivers of newborns by making flu vaccines available at the infant’s newborn – 4 month visits. The challenge is how to handle immunizing adults within the constraints of a pediatric practice.

Vaccines for Children can provide immunizations for parents and caregivers who are younger than 19 and uninsured, Medicaid, or American Indian/Alaskan Native. But Phyllis Layton, The Children’s Clinic’s Purchasing Coordinator says “We are still working on the billing part as we are not their primary care provider.  However, we feel that if pharmacies can do it, we can too.”

The Children’s Clinic has 24 pediatricians and one pediatric nurse practitioner who work at two sites:  one in Southwest Portland near Providence St. Vincent Medical Center and another in Tualatin, near Legacy Meridian Park Hospital. Last year they provided about 14,000 flu shots to children. This year, they hope to protect even more kids by making sure their parents and caregivers don’t give them the flu.


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Filed under All Posts, Oregon Immunization, Private Clinics, VFC

Benifits from Online VFC Recertification

 When it comes to processing forms, simple, easy and fast is better!  In 2010, the Oregon Immunization Program (OIP) took the annual recertification process for clinics enrolled in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program online. In previous years recertification had been a paper process conducted through mail. But this method was difficult and time-consuming, so OIP purchased an electronic enrollment system with the aim of streamlining and standardizing the re-enrollment procedure. Providers now re-enroll clinics at a website online.

 “It’s much easier,” says Anona Gund, OIP health educator. “Health educators aren’t running around crazy now trying to get information from clinics.”The website is inactive until the recertification period. This fall, providers will first receive a memo about a month ahead of time reminding them to recertify, then a second memo informing them the day before the site is active. After two weeks, clinics that do not recertify are dropped from the program. They are deactivated and cannot order vaccine from VFC until they recertify online.

 The electronic system ensures enrollment forms are 100 percent complete before submission, a feature that helps drastically reduce the amount of time and energy spent on recertification. For example, after starting the online process, OIP saw  a 90 percent decrease in the amount of follow-up paperwork. Providers simply submit their completed forms online, so the electronic system also decreases the amount of time OIP health educators spent hand-entering information, making the process  less work-intensive. Previously, staff hand-entered clinics’ data into the computer and proofed all entries, which  took an estimated 259.75 hours. But with the new process, the Oregon Information System (OIS) simply downloads data from the web server, and then staff cleans and loads data into the system. Only an estimated 23.5 hours are required for data cleaning and import.

 The switch to online recertification caused 92 percent decrease in processing time. In 2009, with the paper procedure still in use, it took 25 weeks (about 6 months) to recertify 87 percent of providers. But in 2010, with the new online system, it took only two weeks to recertify the same number of providers. The number of providers who recertified increased by 8.4 percent as well. Ninety-one percent of providers also reported a higher satisfaction rate and thought that the new online process was easier to complete than the old paper method.






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Filed under All Posts, Oregon Immunization, VFC

EOC Staff Transition

Enhanced Ordering Cycle (EOC) is a process that balances clinic vaccine order sizes, order frequencies, and storage and handling costs to improve work flow and reduce costs.  The Oregon EOC Team has appreciated the ongoing efforts made by clinics that have implemented the process over the past year and a half. A total of 178 clinics were targeted and trained in EOC.  This training phase of EOC will be ending in June 2011. 

 As the Oregon EOC Team transitions to other duties within the Immunization Program, there will be some changes to the EOC process that clinics should take note of.

  •  Starting in June, all questions related to your assigned ordering cycle should be directed to your clinic’s VFC Health Educator. 
  •  All VFC orders will continue to be tracked and assessed by state VFC staff to ensure that clinics are adhering to their assigned cycle and ordering windows.

 The EOC Team is pleased to report that participation in EOC has contributed to a 30% reduction in orders placed by the targeted clinics. Of all the orders placed by targeted clinics, 78% have been within the recommended ordering frequency and nearly 70% have been within assigned ordering windows. Because of these positive trends, the Oregon EOC Team is confident that clinics will continue to place on-cycle orders by following their ordering calendars and staying on top of their vaccine inventory quantities. 

 By the end of this year, all remaining clinics that were not included in the targeted group of 178 will also be assigned a new ordering cycle. Notification and guidance regarding new ordering cycles will be sent to all remaining clinics by mail. Clinics with questions regarding order assignments can contact their VFC Health Educator.


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Filed under Oregon Immunization, Private Clinics, Public Clinics, VFC