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10/10/2002

CDC Says Flu Vaccine Available for Purchase

Kate Traynor

The National Immunization Program (NIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced yesterday that several million doses of influenza vaccine for the 2002–03 flu season are available for purchase from the three manufacturers that supply the vaccine.

The text of yesterday's influenza vaccine bulletin from NIP appears below.

Influenza Vaccine Supply and Production 

Several million doses of influenza vaccine remain available for purchase for the 2002-03 influenza season. Health care providers who wish to purchase influenza vaccine (or purchase additional influenza vaccine) should contact their regular sources of influenza vaccine. Depending upon the source, this vaccine may be available in 10-dose vials, pre-loaded syringes or both. Vaccine manufacturers and distributors report that overbooking and multiple booking of vaccine orders placed over the summer followed by cancellation of excess orders contributed to this recent increase in vaccine availability.

Influenza Vaccine Distribution

On October 2, 2002, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published an interim final rule in the Federal Register which removes from the Conditions of Participation the physician signature requirement for influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations in Medicare and Medicaid participating hospitals, long-term care facilities, and home health agencies.

To the extent allowed by state law, these facilities and agencies may now implement standing orders for influenza and pneumococcal vaccination of Medicare- and Medicaid-eligible patients.

Recently, a previously undetected problem in a Medicaid data base resulted in questions about whether state Medicaid programs can reimburse for the Evans Vaccines brand of influenza vaccine. 

  • Medicaid officials indicate that the Evans brand is Medicaid-reimbursable.    
  • CMS has sent to all state Medicaid programs an advisory to correct this bit of misinformation. Providers administering the Evans Vaccines brand of influenza vaccine to Medicaid patients can be reassured that Medicaid will reimburse them and should proceed with their vaccination programs. 

Effective October 16, 2002, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires providers to use standard formats for electronic transmission of health care claims. 

  • Noncompliance may impact a provider’s ability to collect claims. But the HIPAA legislation does allow providers who are not yet in compliance to file for a one year extension. Electronic filing is encouraged at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid [Services] website.   
  • More information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid can be found on their website at HIPAA.

Influenza Vaccine Communications

CDC has new education materials for this season available on [its] website. 

  • Various materials on influenza vaccine are available on [CDC's] website at Flu Gallery including the following chart.
  • Please note that the logo on this chart clearly indicates that it originated from CDC. Recently, NIP staff became aware that another currently circulating pediatric influenza vaccine dosage chart of unknown origin includes incorrect information.   
  • While NIP seeks to determine the source of this other chart, please make note of the correct dosages for children as reflected above.

National Adult Immunization Awareness Week is October 13-19, 2002.

  • On Monday, October 7, the National Coalition for Adult Immunization of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases is sponsoring a press conference at the National Press Club to draw attention to the importance of adult immunization.    
  • The featured panelist is Richard H. Carmona, MD, MPH, FACS, U.S. Surgeon General, and Assistant Secretary, Public Health and Science, Department of Health and Human Services.