March 04, 2003
In this issue:
- Additional Funds Available for Local Public Health Departments
- Updated Smallpox Vaccination Adverse Event Information
- Pre- Event Smallpox Vaccine Recommendations
- Minnesota Smallpox Vaccination Data
- MDH Mental Health and Emergency Preparedness Subgroup Meeting
- MDH Welcomes New Metro Public Health Preparedness Planner
Planning and implementing the National Smallpox Vaccination Program in Minnesota
has generated additional demands on local public health that were not anticipated
when MDH allocated the initial Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant
In order to alleviate some of the funding concerns of local public health departments MDH has requested that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention re-allocate additional Public Health Preparedness grant funds to community health boards. The additional funds are to be directed toward smallpox vaccination planning and clinic implementation. Approximately $910,000 will be distributed. Payment of these funds will be conditioned upon participation in and implementation of the Minnesota Smallpox Vaccination Program. The additional funds are to be used through August 31, 2003.
MDH will issue an amendment and distribute the funds through the community health boards. The amount will be based on individual county/city awards (just as the original awards were). The amendment will add 15% to each base grant award, with a minimum award of $5,307 per county (if the additional 15% were less than that). MDH had originally planned to distribute $5,307 to each county/city for additional duties relative to the health alert network. It is clear that funding for smallpox activities is the most immediate need at the local level, so MDH has proposed to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that funds be redirected for this purpose.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not yet formally approved
the re-allocation of the dollars, but MDH does not foresee any problems with
approval. MDH anticipates that amendments containing the additional funds will
be issued by mid March 2003.
A spreadsheet with a breakdown of the funds by community health board is available at the MDH Office of Emergency Preparedness website. Grant amendments will be prepared and mailed to all Community Health Services Administrators as soon as MDH receives formal approval from Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
On January 24, 2003 Department of Health Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson issued a declaration which activated phase I of the nationwide smallpox vaccination program. Since January 24, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported no serious adverse events from civilian vaccinations.
The smallpox vaccine was administered to 4,213 civilian health care workers in 27 jurisdictions from Jan. 24 through Feb. 14. Updated reports will follow as data from the states is reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To date, no potentially life threatening or moderate-to-severe adverse events were reported. Seven people reported non-serious adverse events, the most common signs and symptoms being fever, rash, malaise, pruritus, hypertension and pharyngitis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that adverse events are not necessarily associated with the vaccination and may be incidental. The agency plans to continue publishing regular smallpox vaccination surveillance reports in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The February 26, 2003/52 (Dispatch); 1-16 of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: “Recommendations for Using Smallpox Vaccine in a Pre-Event Vaccination Program Supplemental Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, (ACIP) and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC)”, contains the most recent supplemental recommendation pertaining to pre-event smallpox vaccination.
MDH is collecting weekly smallpox vaccination data from the state wide regional clinics. The total number of vaccines is current through 2/24/03.
The next meeting of the Mental Health & Emergency Preparedness Subgroup is Friday, March 14, 10:30-12:30, at the MDH, Snelling Office Park, 1645 Energy Park Drive, St. Paul. The meeting will be conducted in the Mississippi Room.
Myrlah Olson, Planning Program Supervisor MDH Office of Emergency Preparedness, will discuss the role of the Health Alert Network. The subgroup work will also continue on refining the mental health emergency response strategies grid.
On Monday February 24, MDH welcomed Debra Ehret to the MDH Office of Public Health Practice. Debra is the new public health preparedness planner for the metro area.
Debra’s previous position was as project consultant senior with the STD/HIV Section at MDH. Debra has a Masters degree in Public Health, Community Health Education and six years of experience in community planning. Prior to coming to MDH in 2002, she worked for the Center for Cross Cultural Health in Minneapolis, the Hennepin South Services Collaborative, the University of Minnesota, City University in Trecin, Slovak Republic, Salzburg Seminar in Salzburg, Austria and the Minnesota Food share. Debra also holds a BA in International Relations and Spanish, and is fluent in Spanish. Also notable, Debra was the first recipient of the Cecelia Goetz Scholarship for International Public Health Improvement for travel to Cuba to study public health infrastructure.
Debra brings to this position excellent experience in planning, working with community groups, and training.