AAP named Jay C Butler, MD., C.P.E., FAAP of Anchorage Alaska to the National Vaccine Committee. Committee members provide peer review, consultation, advice and recommendations to the Assistant Secretary for Health, who serves as the director of the National Vaccine Program. Dr. Butler is the chief medical officer for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Sciences and director of the Division of Public Health. He is an affiliate professor of medicine at the University of Alaska Anchorage and President of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
Congratulations Dr. Butler!
As a primary-care pediatrician, I greatly appreciated Bob Young’s summary of the GOP health-care plan.
There is little surprise their proposed plans include eliminating Medicaid expansion and the individual mandate. However, the House bill also proposes radical decreases to Medicaid funding.
Medicaid is an American legislative success story. It came into law with bipartisan support, and 95 percent of kids nationwide have health insurance coverage largely thanks to Medicaid. In Washington state, one out of every two kids is insured by Medicaid. In my own practice, a sizable percentage of kids are insured through Medicaid.
I am certain that the electorate did not intend for the federal government to gut Medicaid, taking us far backward in providing medical coverage for Washington children.
Rupin Thakkar, M.D., Seattle
American Academy of Pediatrics
What’s the Latest with the Flu for Clinicians
Current Flu Situation
As of March 7, flu activity was still elevated in the United States and expected to continue for several weeks. The season so far has been moderate. The majority of states reported widespread influenza activity at this time. With 40 pediatric deaths from influenza reported so far this flu season, even one preventable death is too many. Flu-related deaths in children younger than 18 years old should be reported through the Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality Surveillance System. The number of flu-associated deaths among children reported during this 2016-2017 flu season will be updated each week and can be found at www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly.
It is important to continue to recommend influenza vaccination. Children 6 months through 8
years of age need 2 doses if they have received fewer than 2 doses of any trivalent or quadrivalent influenza vaccine before July 1, 2016. The interval between the 2 doses should be at least 4 weeks. This age cohort requires only 1 dose if these children have previously received 2 or more total doses of any trivalent or quadrivalent influenza vaccine before July 1, 2016. The 2 previous doses do not need to have been received during the same influenza season or in consecutive influenza seasons. See the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy, “Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2016–2017”, for more information.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) titled, “Update: Influenza Activity — United States, October 2, 2016–February 4, 2017.” The report summarizes U.S. influenza activity for the dates listed.
More Influenza Illness Suggests Need for More Rapid Antiviral Treatment
Children clinically presumed to have influenza should be considered for early antiviral treatment, when indicated, independent of laboratory confirmation or receipt of influenza vaccine. This crucial approach can help minimize morbidity and mortality, particularly in young children, and those who are hospitalized or who have underlying co-morbidities. Antiviral treatment should be started as soon as possible after influenza illness onset and should not be delayed while waiting for a confirmatory test result because early therapy provides the best outcomes.
Treating high risk children or children who are very sick with flu with antiviral drugs is very important. It can mean the difference between having a milder illness instead of a very serious one that could result in a hospital stay. See the AAP policy or visit the CDC Antiviral Drugs Web page for information about how antiviral medications can be used to prevent or treat influenza when influenza activity is present in the community. A summary of antiviral recommendations for clinicians is available on the CDC Web page Influenza Antiviral Medications: Summary for Clinicians.
CDC Webinar: 2016-2017 Influenza Season Activity and Recommendations for Clinicians
On February 16, 2017, the CDC Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) hosted a webinar titled “2016-2017 Influenza Season Activity and Recommendations for Clinicians.” During this webinar, clinicians learned about 2016-2017 influenza activity to date and heard an overview of CDC recommendations for health care providers including influenza vaccination and the use of antiviral medications for the treatment of influenza. An archived version of the webinar, a transcript, and presentation materials are available online.
Ready Wrigley Preparedness for Flu Season
The AAP worked with the CDC to develop and endorse a new Ready Wrigley Activity Booklet on influenza. Each book aims to build capacity in children’s preparedness by inspiring youth readiness and promoting individual resilience. The books are designed for children 2 to 8 years of age. The Ready Wrigley Activity Book series is produced by the CDC Children’s Preparedness Unit and CDC communication specialists.
For more information, see the AAP Red Book Online Influenza Resource page and CDC FluView. All AAP “What’s the Latest with the Flu” messages are archived. Members of the AAP also have access to Flu Vaccine Recommendations and Key Speaking Points.
Resolutions to protect the children and families of immigrants marked the top three resolutions selected by AAP leaders at the Annual Leadership Forum (ALF) last weekend.
The resolutions called for access to legal representation for families seeking safe haven, protections for children of migrants, and response to the executive order limiting immigration and entry.
Other top 10 resolutions addressed improving mental health access for children, advocating to national leaders to stand against hate crimes and other discriminatory behavior across the country, wider availability of epinephrine supplies in schools, and evidence-based firearm policy and research.
Following are the top 10 resolutions:
“I was happy to see so many of these align with the current work of the Board and with the Strategic Plan,” said AAP CEO/Executive Vice President Karen Remley, M.D., M.B.A., M.P.H., FAAP.
The top resolutions were voted on by 76% of the 199 eligible voting members present.
Leading up to the ALF, AAP members were able to comment on the resolutions online.
Look to the May issue of AAP News for additional coverage of the 2017 ALF.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) opposes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposal reported in the media that would separate immigrant mothers from their children when they arrive at the U.S. border.
“Pediatricians work to keep families together in times of strife because we know that in any time of anxiety and stress, children need to be with their parents, family members and caregivers. Children are not just little adults and they need loved ones to comfort and reassure them.
“Federal authorities must exercise caution to ensure that the emotional and physical stress children experience as they seek refuge in the United States is not exacerbated by the additional trauma of being separated from their siblings, parents or other relatives and caregivers. Proposals to separate children from their families as a tool of law enforcement to deter immigration are harsh and counterproductive. We urge policymakers to always be mindful that these are vulnerable, scared children.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics is ready to assist federal officials in crafting immigration procedures that protect children.”
by: Fernando Stein, MD, FAAP, President and
Karen Remley, MD, MBA, MPH, FAAP, CEO/Executive Vice President, American Academy of Pediatrics