Monthly Update

April 2020 in Review

In This Issue…

  1. AIRA's COVID-19 Response Update 
  2. What's Making You Smile?
  3. Program Evaluation Project
  4. Don’t Let Immunization Coverage Fall Victim to Coronavirus
  5. Using IIS to Support an Outbreak Response
  6. AIRA Board Corner: Nathalie Hartert, Director
  7. Measurement and Improvement: New and Updated Content Areas and Reports
  8. Find It: IIS in the News
  9. Recent Information Requests Added to the AIRA Repository
  10. Steering Committee Updates: April Recap

Check Out the AIRA Events Calendar for Upcoming…

AIRA's COVID-19 Response Update

April is in the books, the second month where most people were working from home and juggling the day-to-day operations of home and work. As the strategy to roll out a vaccine for COVID-19 is being developed, many are asking what should be done today. The new Preparing for a COVID-19 Vaccine One-Sheet contains ideas for steps you can take today along with links to helpful resources. Below are some of the actionable steps that can be taken by virtually all programs. 

Here at AIRA, we have been on the roller coaster of trying to maintain existing projects and programs while expanding to meet new and often challenging requests. If you have suggestions for how we can help, please don’t hesitate to let us know. Stay safe!

What's Making You Smile?

Inspired by our good friends at the Association of Immunization Managers, we want to take some time to reflect on what is making us smile during these very strange and difficult times. Here are a few examples from AIRA staff. We would love to hear about what is making you smile. Send us a short blurb and picture!

Program Evaluation Project

AIRA has begun an organization-wide program evaluation project, which was initiated under the oversight of the Board of Directors at the end of 2019. The goal of this project is to take a fresh look at how AIRA is organized to deliver its activities so we can identify ways to make staffing and support as strategic, efficient, and effective as possible—all to help ensure that AIRA continues to best meet the needs of the community and the organization.

The program evaluation project aligns with two priority areas of the AIRA 2020–2024 Strategic Plan:

  • Priority Area III: Provide the necessary organizational infrastructure to support the work of AIRA
  • Priority Area II: Address the gap between member needs and utilization of AIRA resources and services

Who is participating in this project?
The voice of the community is integral to and integrated into the program evaluation project. Your elected representatives, the officers/Executive Committee, and the AIRA Board of Directors have direct oversight of and input into the program evaluation. We are using the AIRA Education Survey results to inform the evaluation every step of the way. And EVERYONE responded to the survey! Responses came from all member state and city immunization program jurisdictions, the District of Columbia, and six territories and islands. AIRA staff and leadership are also engaged in the project, sharing their intimate knowledge of the offerings of AIRA, their expertise, and insights.

What’s happening right now, and what does all of this mean for AIRA?
Currently, the project team is meeting regularly to review committee and workgroup charters and activities and to identify opportunities for simplification or other efficiencies. Work is currently under way to review all committees and workgroups. Questions considered during this process include:

  • What, if any, community need(s) does this group meet?
  • What, if any, organizational need(s) does this group meet?
  • Is a group required to meet identified needs?
  • Is there an ongoing or indefinite need for this group?
  • Is this the best structure and function for this group?
  • Are the group’s purpose and scope of responsibility crystal clear?
  • Does the group operate efficiently and effectively?

What’s up next and possible project outcomes?
Over the next two months, the project team will:

  • Define organizational needs.
  • Consider the organizational design, evaluating alternative ways to organize/group ourselves and our activities.
  • Make recommendations to the board on organizational design for the future. This may include recommendations for retainment, refinement, or sunsetting of some committees or workgroups.
  • Give you regular project updates to ensure that the entire AIRA community is well informed as this project progresses.

We sincerely appreciate and value the community’s contributions to AIRA. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let us know by sending us an email at [email protected].

Don’t Let Immunization Coverage Fall Victim to Coronavirus

“As parents around the country cancel well-child checkups to avoid coronavirus exposure, public health experts fear they are inadvertently sowing the seeds of another health crisis. Immunizations are dropping at a dangerous rate, putting millions of children at risk for measles, whooping cough and other life-threatening illnesses.” (Jan Hoffman, The New York Times)

In the April Education Steering Committee call, committee members discussed the work that their IIS and immunization programs are doing or planning to do to support immunization coverage. Here are few ideas for helping support your immunization coverage:

Examine your data: Run assessment reports to determine if your immunization coverage is decreasing. This also may be a good time to look at data related to potential pockets of need that could be exacerbated by the pandemic, if your team has time to do so.

Share your results: If you are seeing a decrease in coverage, let your public health leadership know and consider informing your partners. Information about communicating IIS coverage rates is available in Comparing and Communicating Vaccination Coverage Estimates from IIS, NIS, and Related Assessments.

Work with providers to improve immunization coverage: We know that the capacity to do this will vary between jurisdictions, but, if you are able to reach out, there are a few messages that you may want to share:

  • A recognition that these are difficult times and an emphasis on the importance of immunization.
  • CDC’s guidance on immunization practices during the pandemic.
  • Encouragement for clinic staff to perform reminder/recall for patients who are due or overdue. In their reminder/recall communications, they can include information about how their clinic is working to protect patients during well-child visits.

As an example of this type of communication, the Colorado Immunization Information System developed an article for its monthly newsletter that contains these messages.

Most of all, please take care of yourselves during this difficult time. We at AIRA thank you for the excellent work you are doing to protect us all from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Using IIS to Support an Outbreak Response

Did you miss the recent webinar on using IIS to support outbreak responses? Or equally likely, were loud children distracting you from one of the presentations? Fortunately, you can watch a recording of the webinar at your convenience.

Webinar Recap

  • Sam Graitcer (CDC) provided an overview of the unique challenges IIS face when an outbreak occurs.
  • Claire McGarry (New York State) described the role of New York's IIS in responding to a measles outbreak. This presentation included lessons learned, examples of how IIS data were used, and ideas of how to prepare before an outbreak.
  • Andrew Osborn (Oregon) presented about how the Rapid Fire Response Tool can help quickly deliver useful data to partners during an outbreak. To learn even more about the Rapid Fire Response Tool, check out the article in the March edition of SnapShots.
  • Cassie Jones and Tat'Yana Kenigsberg (Tennessee) offered a summary of how they used their IIS to support a hepatitis A outbreak response. Tennessee found creative ways to use the IIS to check vaccine status in jails and health department sexually transmitted disease clinics, import data from mass vaccination clinics, and create situational reports.
  • Lonnie Peterson (Washington) discussed how consumer access to the IIS played an important role in responding to that state's measles outbreak. Washington used the immunization record-specific portal My Immunization Record (MyIR) to offer consumers access to their records. During the 2019 measles outbreak, there was a large increase in usage of MyIR, which empowered consumers and decreased the calls to provider offices and the health department.
  • Ketti Turcato (AIRA) summarized Vaccinate with Confidence survey responses about how IIS throughout the country have been used to respond to vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks.

The webinar recording and slides are available in the AIRA repository.

AIRA Board Corner: Nathalie Hartert, Director


Nathalie is the IIS manager at the Tennessee Department of Health.

Summarize what you do, in a sentence. I juggle! I manage the IIS team, IIS system, and our IIS vendor.

What’s your role(s) on the AIRA board? I am a director and a member of the Governance Committee.

What do you like most about being on the AIRA board? Getting to know other people and learning from them.

What is your favorite recent movie, book, or podcast and why? My favorite recent movie is Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. I love the actors, the finale of the movie is hilarious, and that pit bull is the best!

What song do you play to get pumped up? Prince: "Let’s Go Crazy"

What’s your favorite vacation spot? Belgium

If you had a time machine, what time period would you visit and why? The fifties because we didn’t have the climate change and plastic pollution problems that we have today. By going back, my hope would be that we would prevent these problems from growing the way they did.

What is the go-to resource you use to support your IIS work? My team, colleagues, and AIRA network.

What most excites you about the IIS community? Our willingness to share best practices and great ideas.

Measurement and Improvement: New and Updated Content Areas and Reports

AIRA and the members of the Measurement for Assessment and Certification Advisory Workgroup (MACAW) are excited to share the Measurement and Improvement (M&I) Initiative updates that will be available in the Aggregate Analysis Reporting Tool (AART) soon. Incoming/Ongoing Data Assessment and Clinical Decision Support (CDS) Validation will both be available in June. The measures for Incoming/Ongoing Data and CDS basic and complete Validation were discussed during a Town Hall webinar in January of this year. The measures were approved by MACAW and the AIRA board in February. 

Authorized AART users can view the new reports by logging into AART here. Users will see an updated dashboard (as seen below) and will be able to view results for all content areas. 

AIRA and MACAW generally assume that IIS connecting with M&I through AART have a desire to broadly participate by being measured and sharing results, unless an IIS states otherwise. AART defaults to inclusion in measurement and sharing but provides control to admin users to set sharing settings as they choose. Admin users are encouraged to confirm their measurement and sharing settings by logging into AART at any time and clicking on “Settings” in the upper right-hand corner. More information about measurement and sharing settings can be found here.

We are also excited to announce that the Quarter 1 2020 Assessment and Validation aggregate reports are published in the AIRA repository.

Need help? AIRA’s technical assistance team is ready to assist you in understanding your AART dashboard and results, to help prioritize work, and to support your movement toward better alignment with standards. Do not hesitate to contact us for technical assistance. We can quickly answer a question or dive deeper into topics such as assisting you and your IIS technical development team to better understand issues and make plans to more fully align with standards. Fill out a Technical Assistance Request or contact Kristi Siahaya for more information.

Find It: IIS in the News

Can you spot the IIS swag in this photo of Governor Kate Brown giving a COVID press conference in Oregon? 

Hint: Her water is helping keep her ALERT.

Recent Information Requests Added to the AIRA Repository

The recent Information Request regarding enrolling providers and adding immunizations designated as shared decision on immunization forecast reports can be found by using the “Information Requests” filter in the AIRA repository. Information Requests are viewable only by individual members and individuals affiliated with member and partner organizations. Just log in to view these valuable resources! If you have any questions, please email [email protected].

Steering Committee Updates: April Recap

Assessment Steering Committee

  • The ASC meets on a quarterly basis, and the next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 2, 2020.

Education Steering Committee

  • The Education Steering Committee met on April 15, and CDC provided information on its current and upcoming work. 
  • The summer edition of SnapShots will focus on pandemic response. Please send ideas and/or submissions for the June edition to SnapShots editor Katie Reed.
  • The committee also received a status update on its upcoming webinars and continued planning. The AIRA Education Steering Committee hosted a webinar on April 14 about using an IIS to support outbreak response. You can view the webinar recording in the AIRA repository.
Standards & Interoperability Steering Committee
  • The Standards and Interoperability Steering Committee (SISC) met on April 8 and discussed the new CVX Codes for COVID.
  • The SISC discussed a proposal for setting up trial vaccine and immune globulin reporting.
  • The committee also discussed early ideas for tracking COVID Evidence of Immunity.
  • The committee decided to add an SISC-Continued COVID Discussion call on Wednesday, April 22 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET.
MIROW Steering Committee
  • The Modeling of Immunization Registry Operations Workgroup (MIROW) Steering Committee (SC) met on April 16. 
  • The SC discussed the scope, timeline, and activities for the next MIROW guide, which will be an update of the two existing MIROW guides related to data quality.
  • The SC reviewed a recent internal assessment of the MIROW SC’s activities and began planning for ways to improve how we meet and do our work.
  • The SC is preparing to post reports on the AIRA website, which include a consolidated list of all MIROW principles and business rules.
  • The SC began development of a potential SnapShots article.

NOTE: Steering Committee minutes will capture only action items and decisions made. Recordings of the meetings can be obtained directly upon request by emailing [email protected].