Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Flu Vaccine Update 9/29/10

There continues to be a good supply of both injectable and nasal flu vaccine in our office and at local pharmacies.
Please refer to earlier posts for details on which patients should get the flu vaccine, how many doses should be given, and which version of the flu vaccine should be given.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Highlighting a Few Health Care Reform Provisions

Six months after President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, three major provisions of health care reform are set to take effect on September 23, 2010.
However, insurance plans that were already in place when the Affordable Care Act was signed can claim "grandfathered" status.  These grandfathered plans are not required to provide some of the new law's consumer protections.

Here is a summary of those provisions:
1.  No co-pay for pediatric preventive care for children with private insurance.
All pediatric well-child visits, including services such as physical examination, immunizations, hearing and vision screening must be covered by non-grandfathered insurance with no co-pays or deductibles for families.  Non-grandfathered insurance also cannot exclude any of these services from coverage.

2.  Eligible young adults will be able to remain on their parents' health insurance up to age 26.
Young adults do not need to be living with a parent, be a student, or be listed as an IRS dependent in order to be eligible.

3.  The Patients' Bill of Rights takes effect.
Most annual and lifetime limits on insurance coverage are eliminated.
Insurers cannot deny care to children with pre-existing conditions.
The PBR applies to all new health insurance plans but not to grandfathered plans.

If you are interested in knowing whether your child's insurance plan will be following these and other provisions, I suggest that you contact your employer's benefits manager and/or call your insurance company directly.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other child advocacy groups have noted their concerns about the wide array of health insurance plans that are currently able to keep their grandfathered status.  The AAP is lobbying to ensure that all plans, including those with grandfathered status, protect children's health.

Flu Vaccine Update 9/15/10

We have injectable and nasal spray flu vaccine in stock.
Feel free to call the office to schedule a flu vaccine nurse visit for your child or we can usually give the flu vaccine at a minor ill visit or check-up visit. 
Unfortunately, we can't accommodate walk-ins for the flu vaccine.
We have weekday appointments and we plan to have at least one Saturday flu clinic per month, starting with Saturday, September 18th.
Please note, certain patients should get 2 doses of this year's flu vaccine to adequately protect against the 2009 H1N1 flu strain (aka swine flu).  For more details, please look at a previous post on this topic on this blog or check out   

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Flu vaccine Update 9/8/10

We got our first shipment of injectable flu vaccine this afternoon.

As of today we have:
A. Thimerosal-free, individual dose injectable vaccine for children 6-35 months old. 
We will use this version of the vaccine for children younger than 3yo who need injectable vaccine while supplies last.
B.  Multi-dose injectable vaccine (contains thimerosal) for approved for children 6 months and older. 
This version can be given down to 6 mo, but will be used only for children 3 yo and older while we have thimerosal-free injectable in stock.
C. Nasal Spray flu vaccine (thimerosal-free). Approved for children 2yo and older who do not have chonic medical conditions including asthma.

For more info on thimerosal, click on this link:

We will schedule flu vaccine nurse visits by appointment, while we have adequate vaccine supply.
Please call the office to schedule the flu vaccine and/or to get more details.
See previous blog posts and/or visit for more details on the 2010-2011 flu vaccine.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Flu vaccine update 9/1/10

All children 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each flu influenza season.

I agree with the CDC: "Yearly flu vaccination should begin in September or as soon as vaccine is available and continue throughout the influenza season, into December, January, and beyond. This is because the timing and duration of influenza seasons vary. While influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time influenza activity peaks in January or later."

Based on the information we have now, we should receive plenty of vaccine supply.  However, so far we have only received a small portion of our flu vaccine order.  Except for a limited supply from the state's VFC program (CHIP insurance patients or patients with no vaccine coverage), we still do not have any injectable flu vaccine at our office.

We do have the nasal spray flu vaccine (aka FluMist®).
Here is the 2010-2011 vaccine information statement for the nasal flu vaccine:
In summary, children who have already turned 2yo and do not have any chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, and other illnesses) are eligible to get FluMist®.

By definition, all of our high risk patients (children under 2yo and children of any age with underlying chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes and other illnesses) need to get the injectable flu vaccine and cannot get the nasal spray version.
Here is the 2010-2011 vaccine information statement for the injectable flu vaccine:

Both the injectable and the nasal flu vaccines protect against the same 3 virus strains (the 2010-11 vaccine contains the 2009 H1N1 (aka swine flu) and 2 seasonal strains). 

Of note to some parents, FluMist® does not contain thimerosol (a mercury containing preservative).  We order the thimerosol-free injectable flu vaccine to give to children less than 3yo.