2018– 2019 Influenza Seasonal Vaccine Supply Determination as Required by Public Health Law 2112

September 28, 2018

TO

Health Care Providers, Hospitals, Pharmacists, and Local Health Departments

FROM

New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Immunization

HEALTH ADVISORY: 2018-2019 INFLUENZA SEASONAL VACCINE SUPPLY DETERMINATION AS REQUIRED BY PUBLIC HEALTH LAW § 2112

Please distribute to the Infection Control Department, Emergency Department, Employee Health Services, Infectious Disease Department, Director of Nursing, Medical Director, Pharmacy Department, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and all primary care providers.

New York State Public Health Law (PHL) § 2112 prohibits the administration of influenza vaccines containing more than trace amounts of thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative, to children less than 3 years of age and women who know they are pregnant. Of note, all single-dose preparations of influenza vaccine available in the United States are thimerosal-free. Only multidose vials contain thimerosal.

Pursuant to PHL § 2112(3), the Commissioner of Health has determined that it appears there will be an adequate supply of influenza vaccine for pregnant women, which complies with the thresholds set forth in PHL § 2112(3) for the 2018-2019 influenza season. Therefore, health care providers (physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurse midwives, pharmacists) providing influenza vaccinations to pregnant women must identify available sources of such vaccine and administer it to the extent it is available. Children less than 3 years of age must continue to be administered vaccine that complies with PHL § 2112(2), provided there are no distribution issues, as described below.

On occasion some influenza vaccine manufacturers may complete vaccine shipments later than other manufacturers, and some health care providers may not initially have an adequate supply of vaccine that complies with PHL § 2112. Therefore, in accordance with PHL § 2112(5), in instances when health care providers have in good faith sought out influenza vaccine that complies with PHL § 2112(2) and (3), and such vaccine has been ordered but not yet received, children less than 3 years of age and pregnant women should be offered available influenza vaccine. There is no proven risk from thimerosal-containing vaccine, and the substantial risk of complications or death from influenza disease in these groups outweighs the risk of vaccination1-3. A parent/guardian of a child less than three years of age and a pregnant woman must provide informed consent prior to administration of vaccine that contains more than trace amounts of thimerosal. It is recommended that providers document such informed consent. Additionally, a provider's good faith efforts to obtain vaccine that complies with PHL § 2112(2) and (3) should be documented in the medical record and reflect the attempts made to locate and obtain such vaccine.

The New York State Department of Health will monitor influenza vaccine supplies throughout the season and may modify this determination, if needed.

Additional Information

For additional information, please go to the NYSDOH webpage as noted below: http://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/public_health_law/section/2112/information_for_physicians/

Additional information regarding influenza vaccine safety can be obtained at:

  1. CDC. Thimerosal in Vaccines. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/thimerosal/
  2. CDC. Understanding Thimerosal, Mercury, and Vaccine Safety patient handout. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/patient-ed/conversations/downloads/vacsafe-thimerosal-color-office.pdf
  3. CDC. Influenza (Flu) Vaccine Safety. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/vaccines/flu-vaccine.html
  4. CDC. Vaccine Safety. http://www.cdc.gov/od/science/iso/

Additional information regarding influenza vaccine availability can be obtained at: http://www.izsummitpartners.org/ivats/

For further information, please contact your local health department or your regional New York State Department of Health Bureau of Immunization representative at the following:

Western Regional Office Central New York Regional Office
Buffalo/Rochester: 716-847-4501 Syracuse: 315-477-8164
Capital District Regional Office Metropolitan Area Regional Office
Albany: 518-473-4437 New Rochelle: 914-654-7149
Central Islip: 631-851-3096
Monticello: 845-794-2045

For questions about ordering vaccine in New York State (outside of New York City), Vaccines for Children (VFC) providers can call 518 – 474 – 4578 or toll free at 800 – KID – SHOT during business hours.

Providers and facilities in New York City should contact the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene at 347 – 396 – 2400. For questions about ordering vaccine in New York City, VFC providers can call 347 – 396 – 2405 during business hours.