Novartis teams with schools to provide flu shots to children, families
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. One of the largest vaccine makers in the world announced Monday that it would collaborate with the Parent Teacher Association to get school-aged children, their families and their teachers vaccinated for influenza.
Novartis Vaccines said the nationwide Let’s Fight the Flu Together campaign is to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s influenza vaccination recommendations, and is also partnering with Flu Busters, an on-site vaccination provider.
During the influenza season for 2008 and 2009, clinics will be opened for students, their families, their teachers and community members at participating PTA schools and community sites. Children play a critical role in community-wide transmission of the flu, a recent study found.
“We are fully committed to supporting public health efforts to reduce the incidence of seasonal influenza and to protecting more people against this potentially deadly disease, especially our children,” Novartis Vaccines chief executive Joerg Reinhardt said in a statement. “Influenza has caused high rates of absenteeism among students and staff in our country’s 119,000 schools.”
New collaboration to spotlight diabetes self-management
WASHINGTON The Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday announced a collaboration with the American Diabetes Association and the Patient Education Research Center at the Stanford University School of Medicine to increase the number of diabetes self-management training programs in the United States.
This collaboration, which will have a particular focus on Hispanic people with Medicare, supports HHS’ Interagency Hispanic Elder Initiative. That initiative, launched in 2007, seeks to improve the health of Hispanic senior populations, and has identified diabetes as a primary issue of concern for Hispanic seniors.
“Although Medicare covers diabetes self-management training, there is a shortage of programs nationwide, especially for Spanish-speaking seniors, “ stated Kerry Weems, acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “This new collaboration will increase the number of programs, including those focused on the needs of Hispanic seniors.”
Approximately 18 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries have diabetes. Hispanic beneficiaries are particularly susceptible to the disease and are more than four times likely than non-Hispanics age 65 and over to experience a hospital admission due to uncontrolled diabetes.
Under the new collaboration, the organizations will work with eight communities across the country with high concentrations of Hispanic seniors to implement a new ADA-certified recognized program specifically designed for Spanish-speaking individuals. The communities are: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, McAllen, Texas; Miami, New York, San Antonio and San Diego.
Johns Hopkins’ study calls for broader use of HPV vaccines
BALTIMORE A call to explore a broader use of human papillomavirus vaccines and the validation of a simple oral screening test for HPV-caused oral cancers are reported in two studies by a Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center investigator, the medical center announced Nov. 3.
Leading HPV expert Maura Gillison, the first to identify HPV infection as the cause of certain oral cancers and who identified multiple sex partners as the most important risk factor for these cancers, reports her latest work in the Nov. 3 journal Clinical Cancer Research and in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention monograph. The CDC report on HPV-associated cancers appears online Nov. 3 and in the Nov. 15 supplement edition of Cancer.
In the CDC report, Gillison found approximately 20,000 cases of cancer in the United States each year are caused by HPV infection. Oral cancers are the second most common type of HPV-associated cancers and are increasing in incidence in the United States, particularly among men. Add to that anal, penile, vaginal and vulvar cancers that also are linked to HPV infection, and Gillison says these cancers, when combined, equal the number of cervical cancers, the most common and well known of the cancers caused by HPV.
While about one-quarter of HPV-linked cancers occur in men, vaccines currently are approved only for use in girls and young women for cervical cancer prevention. “We need to have a more comprehensive discussion of the potential impact the HPV vaccine could have on cancer rates among men and women in this country,” commented Gillison, associate professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Currently available HPV vaccines have the potential to reduce the rates of HPV-associated cancers, like oral and anal cancers, that are currently on the rise and for which there no effective or widely-applied screening programs.” Gillison noted, however, that studies are needed to confirm that the vaccine effectively prevents HPV infections that lead to oral and anal cancers.