March 5, 2012 Minutes

Coalitions Conference Call

IZCoalition Network Project, Legislation Update in California, and NIIW Activities

Agenda Item 1: IZCoalition Network Project
Featured Speakers: Teresa Anderson, DDS, MPH, (consultant, IAC) and Sharon Humiston, MD, MPH (Associate Director for Research, IAC)

Teresa provided a quick overview of IAC's IZCoalitions Network project. IAC currently has contact information for 219 coalitions. The goal of this project is to help immunization coalitions connect with each other and share ideas and resources. As a means to this end, we have developed 3 communication pathways.

  1. We have a mailing list of 543 individuals to whom we can send emails about topics of interest. This list all identified coalition leaders and representatives from nonprofit organizations, professional organizations, and industry who are interested in working with coalitions. Besides notifying people about conference calls, we also use this mailing list to send out announcements of interest and minutes of the calls.
  2. The second communication pathway is a closed listserv discussion group dedicated to immunization coalition issues. Currently, there are 197 members on the listserv (representing 125 coalitions) who can pose questions of each other, share resources, announce educational opportunities, or encourage other members to provide feedback on some national issue. 
  3. In December, we started updating our website. We now have 191 coalitions listed and most of the information has been updated or verified as correct.

Take-away message: If you are not on our mailing list (e.g., if someone else forwarded these minutes to you) and/or if you’d like to join the listserv discussion group, please email Teresa Anderson.
Sharon announced that IAC’s survey for immunization coalitions would be going out electronically immediately after the call. She acknowledged that coalitions have already provided information to IAC; however, in order to do a better job of connecting immunization coalitions across North America and meet your needs, we are now asking for more information on your coalition’s membership, activities, and goals.
The survey should take about 20 minutes to complete. Each coalition will get a unique link for the survey, which will enable the person filling out the survey to stop and start, working on it whenever convenient. IAC will only be sending the survey to one coalition contact, so if you get the survey and are not the right person to provide information, please pass it on to the correct person. Conversely, if you feel you should have received a survey, and didn't, check with the other leaders of your coalition to see if one of them received it and could pass it on. Another possibility is that the survey got trapped by your spam filter. If you still can't locate the survey, please email Sharon Humiston with the subject line JOIN SURVEY.
Sharon also pointed out that the survey indicates which answers will be considered public information, which will be used in summary descriptions only, and which information will be for IAC only to view. We will have an open call on March 6 at the same time as the March 5 call and at the same number to answer any questions about the survey. 
If you have other questions about the survey, please email Teresa or Sharon

Agenda Item 2: Personal belief exemption legislation in California
Featured Speaker: Catherine Flores Martin, Director, California Immunization Coalition (CIC)

Please see the accompanying slide deck for more detail on all these points.
California has a generous personal belief exemption (PBE) law (a parent just has to sign to decline vaccination). Such an easy process can encourage parents to use this option as a matter of convenience, especially when a child may be otherwise ineligible to start school. Since 2008-09, the PBE rate has risen 25% in California (currently about 2.5% statewide, with pockets of higher rates–e.g., 30% of counties have PBE rates of over 5%). Concurrently, the state has been dealing with an epidemic of pertussis (~9,400 cases and 10 infant deaths) and outbreaks of measles.
Because of this, the California Immunization Coalition formed a PBE Task Force in 2010. The task force recommended educational interventions at schools and with physicians and the public. Legislation was an option, but initially the plan was to wait to introduce a bill until the next legislative cycle, especially as there were some concerns that such an action might open a Pandora's Box and actually call parents' attention to the option of PBE. However, it was decided to pursue this option in 2012, as 1) several legislators were ready now, 2) PBE legislation was occurring in other states, and 3) there was much interest and momentum in the media and on social networks.
A bill was introduced and will probably be heard toward the end of March. Assembly Bill–2109 is similar to a recent Washington state bill which requires a healthcare provider signature to document vaccination counseling before a parent can opt out. It still allows for PBEs, but ensures that parents are informed before taking this step.
Catherine included useful key points when working with legislators  see slides 11 and 12. More information on the key points on CIC’s website.
CIC and the bills’ authors have been contacted by the National Vaccine Information Center and Christian Scientist groups with comments like: the bill is not needed, parents know what's best for their children (and more than doctors), this will punish parents for their beliefs, impinge on civil rights, etc. On the other side, some people are disappointed that this bill doesn't go further and attempt to eliminate PBEs. Catherine pointed out that it is necessary to compromise to have a practical bill that has a possibility of passing.
Catherine welcomes your questions:
At the end of Catherine’s talk, IAC consultant Mary Quirk pointed out the following useful resources related to PBEs:


Agenda Item 3: National Infant Immunization Week and CDC’s new childhood immunization campaign and resources
Featured Speaker: Jenny Mullen, MPH (Health Communications Science Office, CDC)

Please see the accompanying slide deck for more detail on all these points.
National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) began in 1994, shortly after a national measles outbreak. NIIW promotes immunization for children 2 years old or younger, celebrates immunization achievements, and revitalizes community efforts. It is locally driven, with communities launching campaigns that best suit their needs. This year NIIW will take place April 21-28. CDC has designed a new tagline and logo for NIIW, focusing on parents "protecting" their children (a positive idea in focus groups). The logo features a stylized mother and child forming a heart.
To keep informed of NIIW resources and activities, or to report on what your coalition is doing for NIIW, go to:
The new NIIW materials are part of a new childhood immunization campaign to be launched in the spring. This campaign will feature a new direct-to-parent media campaign, as well as a revised parent-friendly website and print materials. The goals of this campaign are: 1) Reinforce the social norm to vaccinate, 2) Increase awareness of vaccine-preventable diseases, 3) Increase awareness of disease protection benefits of vaccines, and 4) Empower parents to make the choice to immunize their children. The website design and print materials were developed in partnership with AAP and AAFP, and after much formative research with parents.
Jenny also talked about the various resources available for providers talking to parents about vaccination. She said the Talking with Parents about Vaccines for Infants piece is especially popular due to its concrete tips.
For more information, check out Jenny’s slides or email her at

Agenda Item 4: Reminder about the First National Immunization Conference Online
Featured Speaker: Suzanne Johnson-DeLeon (CDC)

The first National Immunization Conference Online will be held in the afternoons of March 26-28. The goals of the conference are to provide information that will help participants provide comprehensive immunization coverage for all age groups and explore innovative strategies for developing programs, policy, and research to promote immunization coverage for all age groups. It is believed that the online format will allow more people to attend, as no cost or travel will be required.
No preregistration is required to watch the presentations. Attendance at live workshops is limited to the first 1,000 people to log in at the start of each session, but this shouldn't be a problem. In addition, 98 posters have been accepted and will be available for viewing online.
CDC hopes to offer continuing education credit for watching the presentations, whether live or the archived version; however, the process for this is still underway.
For more information, go to or email This web page now includes a video greeting from Anne Schuchat, MD, Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD).

Agenda Item 5: Announcements from Partners
There were no announcements from partners on this call.


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