Publications

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    ABSTRACT: The use of alternative venues beyond physician offices may help to increase rates of population influenza vaccination. Schools provide a logical setting for reaching children, but most school-located vaccination (SLV) efforts to date have been limited to local areas. The potential reach and acceptability of SLV at the national level is unknown in the United States. To address this gap, we conducted a nationally representative online survey of 1088 parents of school-aged children. We estimate rates of, and factors associated with, future hypothetical parental consent for children to participate in SLV for influenza. Based on logistic regression analysis, we estimate that 51% of parents would be willing to consent to SLV for influenza. Among those who would consent, SLV was reported as more convenient than the regular location (42.1% vs. 19.9%, P<0.001). However the regular location was preferred over SLV for the child's well-being in case of side effects (46.4% vs. 20.9%, P<0.001) and proper administration of the vaccine (31.0% vs. 21.0%, P<0.001). Parents with college degrees and whose child received the 2009-2010 seasonal or 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccination were more likely to consent, as were parents of uninsured children. Several measures of concern about vaccine safety were negatively associated with consent for SLV. Of those not against SLV, schools were preferred as more convenient to the regular location by college graduates, those whose child received the 2009-2010 seasonal or 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccination, and those with greater travel and clinic time. With an estimated one-half of U.S. parents willing to consent to SLV, this study shows the potential to use schools for large-scale influenza vaccination programs in the U.S.
    Vaccine 01/2014; · 3.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Seasonal influenza infections are a leading cause of illness, death, and lost productivity. Vaccinating health care personnel (HCP) can reduce transmission of influenza virus to patients and reduce influenza-related absenteeism, enabling the health care system to meet elevated demand for care during influenza outbreaks. Objectives We evaluated the impact of California’s 2006 influenza vaccination requirement for hospital workers (requiring vaccination or signed declinations) on uptake and vaccination-related attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge among hospital HCP. Methods We used a causal difference-in-differences approach to compare changes over the prior 10 years in the self-reported frequency of influenza vaccination for California hospital HCP and those from other states without similar laws using data from a stratified sample (N = 3,529) of HCP drawn from online survey panels. We also examined cross-sectional differences in awareness of vaccination policies, promotion efforts, and attitudes toward influenza vaccination. All analyses used propensity score weighting to balance the observable characteristics of the 2 samples. Results We found that compared with their counterparts in other states, California hospital HCP were (1) more likely to report working under a formal written policy for influenza vaccination, (2) no more likely to be vaccinated, and (3) less likely to report working for an employer who provided financial incentives for vaccination or rewarded or recognized employees for being vaccinated. Conclusion Our results suggest that state-level vaccination requirements such as those enacted by California, may not be sufficient to increase uptake among hospital HCP.
    American journal of infection control 01/2014; 42(3):288–293. · 3.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Methods of measuring influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel (HCP) vary substantially, as do the groups of HCP that are included in any given set of measurements. Thus, comparison of vaccination rates across healthcare facilities is difficult. The goal of the study was to determine the feasibility of implementing a standardized measure for reporting HCP influenza vaccination data in various types of healthcare facilities. A total of 318 facilities recruited in four U.S. jurisdictions agreed to participate in the evaluation, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, dialysis clinics, ambulatory surgery centers, and physician practices. HCP in participating facilities were categorized as employees, credentialed non-employees, or other non-employees using standard definitions. Data were gathered using cross-sectional web-based surveys completed at three intervals between October 2010 and May 2011; data were analyzed in February 2012. 234 facilities (74%) completed all three surveys. Most facilities could report on-site employee vaccination; almost one third could not provide complete data on HCP vaccinated outside the facility, contraindications, or declinations, primarily due to missing non-employee data. Inability to determine vaccination status of credentialed and other non-employees was cited as a major barrier to measure implementation by 24% and 27% of respondents, respectively. Using the measure to report employee vaccination status was feasible for most facilities; tracking non-employee HCP was more challenging. Based on evaluation findings, the measure was revised to limit the types of non-employees included. Although the revised measure is less comprehensive, it is more likely to produce valid vaccination coverage estimates. Use of this standardized measure can inform quality improvement efforts and facilitate comparison of HCP influenza vaccination among facilities.
    American journal of preventive medicine 09/2013; 45(3):297-303. · 4.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Using qualitative methods, we explore the implementation of California's 2007 influenza immunization requirements of hospital-based health care personnel (HCP). We conducted nine case studies of California hospitals with different HCP vaccination rates and policies. Case studies consisted of interviewing 13 hospital representatives and analyzing relevant hospital documents, including influenza policies. We also conducted 13 semi-structured phone interviews with key state and county public health officials, union representatives, and officials of various professional healthcare organizations. Our qualitative results complement our quantitative findings reported elsewhere and suggest that California's vaccination requirements likely did not increase influenza vaccination uptake among HCP. The law was not strong enough to compel hospitals with low and medium vaccination rates to improve their vaccination efforts, and hospitals with high vaccination rates were able to comply fully with the law by continuing to do what they were already doing - namely offering vaccinations to HCP, providing education about the risks of influenza and the benefits of vaccination, and obtaining signed declinations from those who refuse vaccination. Nonetheless, we found that by publicly raising the issue of influenza vaccination in the context of public safety and healthcare quality, California's law encouraged hospitals to develop and implement data systems to monitor the effectiveness of vaccination promotion efforts and prompted discussions, and, in some cases, adoption of stricter vaccination requirements at hospital or county levels. Our findings generally support the literature that suggests that permissive influenza vaccination requirements, though politically feasible, provide little direct incentive for hospitals to focus efforts on increasing HCP vaccination rates.
    Vaccine 07/2013; · 3.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: (See the commentary by Sickbert-Bennett and Weber, on pages 346-348 .) Objective. To evaluate the reliability and validity of a standardized measure of healthcare personnel (HCP) influenza vaccination. Setting. Acute care hospitals, long-term care facilities, ambulatory surgery centers, physician practices, and dialysis centers from 3 US jurisdictions. Participants. Staff from 96 healthcare facilities randomly sampled from 234 facilities that completed pilot testing to assess the feasibility of the measure. Methods. Reliability was assessed by comparing agreement between facility staff and project staff on the classification of HCP numerator (vaccinated at facility, vaccinated elsewhere, contraindicated, declined) and denominator (employees, credentialed nonemployees, other nonemployees) categories. To assess validity, facility staff completed a series of case studies to evaluate how closely classification of HCP groups aligned with the measure's specifications. In a modified Delphi process, experts rated face validity of the proposed measure elements on a Likert-type scale. Results. Percent agreement was high for HCP vaccinated at the facility (99%) and elsewhere (95%) and was lower for HCP who declined vaccination (64%) or were medically contraindicated (64%). While agreement was high (more than 90%) for all denominator categories, many facilities' staff excluded nonemployees for whom numerator and denominator status was difficult to determine. Validity was lowest for credentialed and other nonemployees. Conclusions. The standardized measure of HCP influenza vaccination yields reproducible results for employees vaccinated at the facility and elsewhere. Adhering to true medical contraindications and tracking declinations should improve reliability. Difficulties in establishing denominators and determining vaccination status for credentialed and other nonemployees challenged the measure's validity and prompted revision to include a more limited group of nonemployees.
    Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology 04/2013; 34(4):335-45. · 4.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To understand the feasibility of implementing a standardized performance measure for collecting and reporting influenza vaccination rates among healthcare personnel, qualitative, semistructured interviews were conducted with key informants in 32 healthcare facilities. Despite practical and logistical challenges to implementing the measure, respondents perceived clear benefits to its use.
    Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology 09/2012; 33(9):945-8. · 4.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study retrospectively estimated costs for a convenience sample of school-located vaccination (SLV) clinics conducted in Maine during the 2009-2010 influenza season. Surveys were developed to capture the cost of labor including unpaid volunteers as well as supplies and materials used in SLV clinics. Six nurses from different school districts completed a clinic day survey on staff time; four of the six also provided data for materials and supplies. For all clinics, average per-dose labor cost was estimated at $5.95. Average per-dose material cost, excluding vaccine, was $5.76. From the four complete clinic survey responses, total per-dose cost was estimated to be an average of $13.51 (range = $4.91-$32.39). Use of donated materials and uncompensated volunteer staff could substantially reduce per-dose cost. Average per-dose cost could also be lowered by increasing the number of doses administered in a clinic.
    The Journal of School Nursing 08/2012; 28(5):336-43. · 0.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To describe the trend of Acanthamoeba keratitis case reports following an outbreak and the recall of a multipurpose contact lens disinfection solution. Acanthamoeba keratitis is a serious eye infection caused by the free-living amoeba Acanthamoeba that primarily affects contact lens users. A convenience sample of 13 ophthalmology centers and laboratories in the USA, provided annual numbers of Acanthamoeba keratitis cases diagnosed between 1999-2009 and monthly numbers of cases diagnosed between 2007-2009. Data on ophthalmic preparations of anti-Acanthamoeba therapies were collected from a national compounding pharmacy. Data from sentinel site ophthalmology centers and laboratories revealed that the yearly number of cases gradually increased from 22 in 1999 to 43 in 2003, with a marked increase beginning in 2004 (93 cases) that continued through 2007 (170 cases; p < 0.0001). The outbreak identified from these sentinel sites resulted in the recall of a contact lens disinfecting solution. There was a statistically significant (p ≤ 0.0001) decrease in monthly cases reported from 28 cases in June 2007 (following the recall) to seven cases in June 2008, followed by an increase (p = 0.0004) in reported cases thereafter; cases have remained higher than pre-outbreak levels. A similar trend was seen in prescriptions for Acanthamoeba keratitis chemotherapy. Cases were significantly more likely to be reported during summer than during other seasons. The persistently elevated number of reported cases supports the need to understand the risk factors and environmental exposures associated with Acanthamoeba keratitis. Further prevention efforts are needed to reduce the number of cases occurring among contact lens wearers.
    Ophthalmic epidemiology 08/2012; 19(4):221-5. · 1.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: School nurses played a key role in Maine's school-located influenza vaccination (SLV) clinics during the 2009-2010 pandemic season. The objective of this study was to determine, from the school district perspective, the labor hours and costs associated with outside-clinic coordination activities (OCA). The authors defined OCA as labor hours spent by staff outside of clinic operations. The authors surveyed a convenience sample of 10 school nurses from nine school districts. Eight nurses responded to the survey, representing seven districts, 45 schools and 84 SLV clinics that provided a total of 22,596 vaccine doses (H1N1 and seasonal combined) to children and adolescents. The mean total OCA time per clinic was 69 hours: out of total hours, 22 (36%) were spent outside regular clinic operation time. The authors estimated the mean cost of OCA to be $15.36 per dose. Survey respondents reported that costs would be lower during non-pandemic seasons and as schools become more proficient at planning clinics.
    The Journal of School Nursing 06/2012; 28(5):328-35. · 0.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Unvaccinated health care personnel are at increased risk for transmitting vaccine-preventable diseases to their patients. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that health care personnel, including students, receive measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, varicella, influenza, and pertussis vaccines. Prematriculation vaccination requirements of health professional schools represent an early opportunity to ensure that health care personnel receive recommended vaccines. To examine prematriculation vaccination requirements and related policies at selected health professional schools in the United States and compare requirements with current ACIP recommendations. Cross-sectional study using an Internet-based survey. Medical and baccalaureate nursing schools in the United States and its territories. Deans of accredited medical schools granting MD (n = 130) and DO (n = 26) degrees and of baccalaureate nursing programs (n = 603). Proportion of MD-granting and DO-granting schools and baccalaureate nursing programs that require that entering students receive vaccines recommended by the ACIP for health care personnel. 563 schools (75%) responded. More than 90% of all school types required measles, mumps, rubella, and hepatitis B vaccines for entering students; varicella vaccination also was commonly required. Tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis vaccination was required by 66%, 70%, and 75% of nursing, MD-granting, and DO-granting schools, respectively. Nursing and DO-granting schools (31% and 45%, respectively) were less likely than MD-granting schools (78%) to offer students influenza vaccines free of charge. Estimates were conservative, because schools that reported that they did not require proof of immunity for a given vaccine were considered not to require that vaccine. Estimates also were restricted to schools that train physicians and nurses. The majority of schools now require most ACIP-recommended vaccines for students. Medical and nursing schools should adopt policies on student vaccination and serologic testing that conform to ACIP recommendations and should encourage annual influenza vaccination by offering influenza vaccination to students at no cost. None.
    Annals of internal medicine 03/2011; 154(6):391-400. · 13.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In February 2005, the US Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended the new meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) for routine use among 11- to 12-year-olds (at the preadolescent health-care visit), 14- to 15-year-olds (before high-school entry), and groups at increased risk. Vaccine distribution started in March; however, in July, the manufacturer reported inability to meet demand and widespread MCV4 shortages were reported. Our objectives were to determine early uptake patterns among target (11-12 and 14-15 year olds) and non-target (13- plus 16-year-olds) age groups. A post hoc analysis was conducted to compare seasonal uptake patterns of MCV4 with polysaccharide meningococcal (MPSV4) and tetanus diphtheria (Td) vaccines. We analyzed data for adolescents 11-16 years from five managed care organizations participating in the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD). For MCV4, we estimated monthly and cumulative coverage during 2005 and calculated risk ratios. For MPSV4 and Td, we combined 2003 and 2004 data and compared their seasonal uptake patterns with MCV4. Coverage for MCV4 during 2005 among the 623,889 11-16 years olds was 10%. Coverage for 11-12 and 14-15 year olds was 12% and 11%, respectively, compared with 8% for 13- plus 16-year-olds (p < 0.001). Of the 64,272 MCV4 doses administered from March-December 2005, 73% were administered June-August. Fifty-nine percent of all MPSV4 doses and 38% of all Td doses were administered during June-August. A surge in vaccine uptake between June and August was observed among adolescents for MCV4, MPSV4 and Td vaccines. The increase in summer-time vaccinations and vaccination of non-targeted adolescents coupled with supply limitations likely contributed to the reported shortages of MCV4 in 2005.
    BMC Infectious Diseases 11/2009; 9:175. · 3.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An outbreak of Acanthamoeba keratitis, a rare, potentially blinding, corneal infection, was detected in the United States in 2007; cases had been increasing since 2004. A case-control study was conducted to investigate the outbreak. We interviewed 105 case-patients from 30 states and 184 controls matched geographically and by contact lens use. Available contact lenses, cases, solutions, and corneal specimens from case-patients were cultured and tested by molecular methods. In multivariate analyses, case-patients had significantly greater odds of having used Advanced Medical Optics Complete Moisture Plus (AMOCMP) solution (odds ratio 16.9, 95% confidence interval 4.8-59.5). AMOCMP manufacturing lot information was available for 22 case-patients, but none of the lots were identical. Three unopened bottles of AMOCMP tested negative for Acanthamoeba spp. Our findings suggest that the solution was not intrinsically contaminated and that its anti-Acanthamoeba efficacy was likely insufficient. Premarket standardized testing of contact lens solutions for activity against Acanthamoeba spp. is warranted.
    Emerging Infectious Diseases 08/2009; 15(8):1236-42. · 6.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acanthamoebae are free-living amoebae found in the environment, including soil, freshwater, brackish water, seawater, hot tubs, and Jacuzzis. Acanthamoeba species can cause keratitis, a painful vision-threatening infection of the cornea, and fatal granulomatous encephalitis in humans. More than 20 species of Acanthamoeba belonging to morphological groups I, II, and III distributed in 15 genotypes have been described. Among these, Acanthamoeba castellanii, A. polyphaga, and A. hatchetti are frequently identified as causing Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK). Improper contact lens care and contact with nonsterile water while wearing contact lenses are known risk factors for AK. During a recent multistate outbreak, AK was found to be associated with the use of Advanced Medical Optics Complete MoisturePlus multipurpose contact lens solution, which was hypothesized to have had insufficient anti-Acanthamoeba activity. As part of the investigation of that outbreak, we compared the efficacies of 11 different contact lens solutions against cysts of A. castellanii, A. polyphaga, and A. hatchetti (the isolates of all species were genotype T4), which were isolated in 2007 from specimens obtained during the outbreak investigation. The data, generated with A. castellanii, A. polyphaga, and A. hatchetti cysts, suggest that the two contact lens solutions containing hydrogen peroxide were the only solutions that showed any disinfection ability, with 0% and 66% growth, respectively, being detected with A. castellanii and 0% and 33% growth, respectively, being detected with A. polyphaga. There was no statistically significant difference in disinfection efficacy between the 11 solutions for A. hatchetti.
    Journal of clinical microbiology 05/2009; 47(7):2040-5. · 4.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The goals were (1) to describe immunization rates for tetanus-diphtheria, hepatitis B, and measles-mumps-rubella vaccines among 13-year-old adolescents; (2) to identify missed opportunities for tetanus-diphtheria immunization among adolescents 11 to 17 years of age; and (3) to evaluate the association between preventive care use and tetanus-diphtheria immunization. Adolescents born between January 1, 1986, and December 31, 1991, and enrolled in Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates for >or=1 year in 1997-2004 were included. Immunization rates for tetanus-diphtheria, hepatitis B, and measles-mumps-rubella were assessed at 13 years of age. Missed opportunities for tetanus-diphtheria immunization within 14 days after a health care visit were measured. Multivariate models were used to determine predictors of timeliness of tetanus-diphtheria vaccination, particularly the use of preventive care services. RESULTS. A total of 23,987 eligible adolescents were enrolled in Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates between 1997 and 2004. Among 13-year-old adolescents in the most recent birth cohort, 84%, 74%, and 67% were up to date for tetanus-diphtheria, hepatitis B, and measles-mumps-rubella, respectively. When the analysis was limited to those with >or=1 vaccine received before 2 years of age (a proxy measure for complete records), 92%, 82%, and 85% were up to date for tetanus-diphtheria, hepatitis B, and measles-mumps-rubella, respectively. Missed opportunities for tetanus-diphtheria immunization occurred at 84% of all health care visits. Adolescents who did not seek preventive care were less likely to receive tetanus-diphtheria in a timely manner. Adolescent immunization rates lag far behind childhood rates, and missed opportunities are common. Additional strategies are needed to increase the use of preventive services among adolescents and to enable providers to vaccinate adolescents at every opportunity.
    PEDIATRICS 11/2008; 122(4):711-7. · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Healthcare personnel with direct patient contact were prioritized for influenza vaccination during the 2004-2005 vaccine shortage. Data about vaccination coverage among healthcare personnel during vaccine shortages are limited. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2005 data were analyzed in 2007 for a sample of healthcare facility workers (HCFW) aged 18-64 with (n=3456) and without (n=1153) direct patient contact and non-HCFWs (n=39,405). Chi-square tests and logistic regression were used to identify factors associated with influenza vaccination among HCFWs and to compare HCFWs with non-HCFWs with regard to the main reason for nonvaccination during the shortage. Vaccination coverage was 37% (SE +/- 3.1) among HCFWs with direct patient contact and 25% (SE +/- 5.7) among those without. In multivariate analysis, coverage was higher among HCFWs who were older, more educated, and with higher incomes and better access to health care. The reason most commonly reported by HCFWs and non-HCFWs for nonvaccination was the belief that they did not need vaccination (35% versus 40%, respectively; p<0.05). Even in a time of influenza-vaccine shortage, when most healthcare personnel were targeted for vaccination, their uptake of the vaccine remained suboptimal. Continued efforts are needed to develop effective interventions to improve the use of influenza vaccination among healthcare workers.
    American Journal of Preventive Medicine 07/2008; 34(6):455-62. · 3.95 Impact Factor

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