Monthly Update

June 2020 in Review

In This Issue…

  1. AIRA's COVID-19 Response Update
  2. AIRA Elections Update
  3. Immunization in the Time of COVID
  4. National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit IIS Brochure
  5. Measurement and Improvement Updates
  6. AIRA Board Corner: Aaron Bieringer, Board President
  7. Thank You!
  8. Vaccine Updates from the June ACIP Meeting
  9. Recent Information Requests Added to the AIRA Repository
  10. Steering Committee Updates: June Recap

Check Out the AIRA Events Calendar for Upcoming…

AIRA's COVID-19 Response Update

The daily reminders that COVID-19 is still with us can be painful. Still, we continue to plan for a much-anticipated vaccination campaign. AIRA has focused on several efforts over the last few weeks to help to prepare the IIS community.

In June, AIRA created a new one-sheet, IIS Policies to Support Pandemic and Routine Vaccination, for national immunization advocacy stakeholders who work with federal decision-makers to promote IIS policies needed to facilitate pandemic response and routine vaccination. This resource highlights the value of IIS and areas to focus on for strengthening policies related to data exchange, vaccine reporting, and consent. It should help the community to achieve more uniform, consistent policies. There is a need to ensure policies support the ability to capture and exchange complete and accurate immunization data in a timely manner to support data-driven decision-making. 

Additionally, AIRA has formed a COVID-19 Workgroup to elevate the IIS community's voice as the CDC advances pandemic response planning. The purpose of the workgroup is to provide input on CDC's vaccine monitoring and assessment plans for COVID-19, to assist the development of CDC's vaccine administration tracking tool, and to engage members in ensuring the communication of these plans to all stakeholders. The workgroup is co-led by AIRA staff and CDC with consultants from Deloitte. Members include a diverse group of immunization program managers, IIS managers, and emergency preparedness experts representing a variety of IIS platforms, levels of system maturity, and geographic localities. To date, the group has met three times to provide valuable feedback for the usability and implementation of the technology tool designed to track COVID-19 vaccination, as well as the plans for integrating with the IZ Gateway. The group has raised many important considerations and questions about the practical use of the tool in the field. AIRA is working with CDC to follow issues and concerns among the entire IIS community. While we recognize this is a starting point and many outstanding questions remain, the CDC has started to compile some responses in itsFAQ resource (available to immunization awardees only) shared in the IIS Info Brief on June 19.

This past month, our many partners drafted letters and developed resource materials. A joint letter was sent on June 23 from AIM, AIRA, ASTHO, and NACCHO to General Perna and Dr. Slaoui of Operation Warp Speed. The letter expresses the strong support of state and local public health to build upon existing immunization infrastructure to deliver COVID-19 vaccine. You can read the full letter here. Vaccinate Your Family created a COVID-19 specific supplement to its State of the ImmUnion report, which highlights actions Congress needs to take now to prepare for the arrival of a vaccine, including a section highlighting IIS. These are just a small sample of the many efforts under way to support the public health and immunization infrastructure.

As summer flies by and the public health community begins to focus on ways to return our kids to school safely, don't miss our July 13th AIRA-AIM Webinar on Immunization in the Time of COVID to hear about strategies to maintain high levels of coverage during the pandemic.

I wish you and your family a wonderful, safe, and healthy July 4th holiday.

Rebecca Coyle, MSEd

AIRA Elections Update

Nominations for AIRA board directors are now closed. Thank you to those who nominated themselves or a colleague! A ballot including a slate of director candidates will be sent to your organization's voting members in July. An election day meeting for voting members who have yet to submit their ballot will be held on Wednesday, August 12. More information will be sent out closer to the meeting date.

Immunization in the Time of COVID

Join us on Monday, July 13 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET for a special AIRA-AIM Joint Education Steering Committee Webinar about supporting high levels of immunization coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar will include speakers from Michigan, Virginia, New York City, and AIRA and will also highlight AIRA and AIM resources that you may find helpful. You can register for the webinar here. The webinar information can also be found on the AIRA website. We hope you will be able to join us.

National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit IIS Brochure

The National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit (NAIIS) has a new brochure to promote the benefits of IIS for pharmacists and their adult patients.

This new brochure highlights the importance of IIS to ensure patients are up to date and get the right vaccine at the right time. Providers are also encouraged to contact their jurisdiction’s IIS for details. The brochures include a space for immunization programs to insert their own IIS name, logo, and contact information.

Measurement and Improvement Updates

Register for the next MACAW Town Hall! AIRA and MACAW (the Measurement for Assessment and Certification Advisory Workgroup) would like to invite you to a Town Hall meeting to discuss Acknowledgment (ACK) Processing Rules and Proposed 2021 Submission and Acknowledgment Validation, including NDC Measures 15 and 16. This call is scheduled for July 7, 2020 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET.

Submission and Acknowledgment NDC Measures 15 and 16 were added to Submission and Acknowledgment Assessment back in Quarter 4, 2019. MACAW is recommending these measures now move into Submission and Acknowledgment Validation in 2021. Please register here to attend the Town Hall webinar on July 7. The Town Hall information can also be found on the AIRA website. We hope you are able to join us.

New and Updated Content Areas! Incoming/Ongoing Data Assessment and Clinical Decision Support (CDS) Validation individual IIS reports are now available in the Aggregate Analysis Reporting Tool (AART).

Need help? AIRA’s technical assistance team is ready to assist you in understanding your AART dashboard and results, in prioritizing work, and in moving 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.

AIRA Board Corner: Aaron Bieringer, Board President


Title: Interoperability Lead

What I do: I work to ensure that MIIC stays informed on the latest trends in data exchange and help providers understand how to work with us to effectively share information.  

Organization's name: Minnesota Department of Health

Role(s) on AIRA board: AIRA board president, chair of the Governance Committee

What do you like most about being on the AIRA board? Getting to look at the big picture of what AIRA is doing and not just the few groups that I work most directly with. 

What most excites you about the IIS community? The collaboration and willingness to learn and share with each other that this community embodies so well.

What is one go-to resource you use to support your IIS work? The AART tool has become an integral part of our IIS improvement process.

What is your favorite recent movie, book, or podcast and why? I recently was introduced to the Cup of Rad podcast by Mandy Harris (Nevada). It’s an interesting take on pop culture and nerddom in general. I have only listened to a few episodes but have enjoyed them both so far!

What song would you play to get pumped up? I’m a fan of '90s rock/metal so probably something by Metallica, Tool, or Pantera.

What is your motto? This too will pass. It helps me keep in perspective the tough times but also helps me to remember to enjoy the good times!

What’s your favorite vacation spot? Either the north shore of Lake Superior or whatever the next place my wife and I are planning to visit together.

Thank You!

The Standards and Interoperability Steering Committee has been hard at work over the last couple of months. Two small groups have come together to work on separate projects, including messaging priority information to support mass vaccination and messaging serology/immunity status information. A third group has been formed to expand the selection of current error codes. These community members are volunteering a dedicated amount of time over a short period to help rapidly develop detailed technical proposals that are expected to help improve IIS functions and provide additional support for COVID-19 related activities.

A special additional thank-you goes out to Brandy Altstadter from STCHealth and Jason Suchon from Metastar, who led and facilitated the first two groups. We greatly appreciate your leadership, skills, and experience!

Vaccine Updates from the June ACIP Meeting

New product: MenQuadfiTM Meningococcal (Groups A, C, Y, W) Conjugate Vaccine

Discontinued products: Zostavax will no longer be sold in the US, effective June 1, 2020. The last expiration date is in November 2020, but the manufacturer is unsure when product will be depleted. For more information, please see this Merck letter.

2020–2021 flu update: The ACIP recommendations language is very similar to previous years. Minor updates occur regarding the contraindication language related to live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV). There are two new influenza vaccines licensed for use during the 2020–2021 season. For more information about the two new products and a quick overview of the 2020–2021 influenza season, we encourage you to read this CDC Frequently Asked Questions web page.

Recent Information Requests Added to the AIRA Repository

The recent Information Request regarding temporary names for newborns 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: June Recap

Assessment Steering Committee

  • The Assessment Steering Committee (ASC) met on June 2 and received a high-level update of projects and processes under way as a part of the Measurement and Improvement (M&I) Initiative.
  • The committee also learned the status of projects, including the message quality evaluation (MQE) tool, data-at-rest, and vaccine confidence projects.
  • The ASC meets on a quarterly basis, and the next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 1, 2020.

Education Steering Committee

  • The Education Steering Committee met on June 17, and CDC and Public Health Informatics Institute provided information on their current and upcoming work. 
  • Stay tuned for the summer edition of SnapShots, which will be focused on pandemic response. 
  • The committee also received a status update on its upcoming webinars and activities. 

HL7 Immunization User Group

  • The HL7 Immunization User Group met on June 11 and discussed how IIS can prepare for COVID-19.
  • The user group discussed onboarding immunization partners, how to align with standards, eliminating data exchange limitations, and expanding consumer access.
  • The HL7 Immunization User Group also reviewed information from the Measurement and Improvement project that showed how IIS support immunity codes.
  • The user group heard updates from the Standards and Interoperability Steering Committee and progress on Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR).

Joint Development & Implementation Advisory Workgroup

  • The Joint Development and Implementation (JDI) Advisory Workgroup met on June 5 and discussed the Vaccine Code Set Project and the Vaccine Code Set Considerations Document.
  • The workgroup also considered a potential future direction for Vaccine Code Set work.
  • The JDI Advisory Workgroup discussed the future of JDI and the next steps for revamping the group. It was decided that the workgroup will shift to an ad hoc schedule after the July meeting but will remain as a key representative group to inform both IIS community and CDC projects with broad reach across platforms and programs.
  • The advisory group agreed to move the last regular JDI meeting to July 17 due to the 4th of July holiday.
Standards & Interoperability Steering Committee
  • The Standards and Interoperability Steering Committee (SISC) met on June 10 and discussed the SISC small groups. 
  • The committee received an update on the Messaging Serology small group.
  • The committee also received an update on the Messaging Priority Groups small group.
  • The SISC discussed the formation of the next SISC small group: Error Codes in HL7 Acknowledgment Messages.
MIROW Steering Committee
  • The Modeling of Immunization Registry Operations Workgroup (MIROW) Steering Committee (SC) met on June 18.
  • The MIROW SC has voted to update the two existing MIROW guides on data quality (Data Quality Assurance in IIS: Incoming Data and Data Quality Assurance in Immunization Information Systems: Selected Aspects). In the June meeting, the SC received an update on the status of the project. The MIROW small group is currently reviewing resources related to the data quality guides.
  • The MIROW SC is planning to present a webinar during the AIRA webinar series that will be held in lieu of the National Meeting.

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].