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MA Adult Immunization Conference 2021

April 13, 2021 @ 8:00 am - 4:00 pm


26th Annual MA Adult Immunization Virtual Conference
Immunizations: Adapting During Challenging Times

Tuesday, April 13, 2021 | 8:00 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this was a virtual conference
Conference website, Conference brochure

The 26th annual MA Adult Immunization Conference was held virtual (due to the current COVID-19 pandemic) on Tuesday, April 13th, 2021, and addressed the current immunization adaptations necessary during challenging times, such as a pandemic. We discussed the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in MA and latest ACIP recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines and implementation strategies. Other topics included vaccine hesitancy, current ACIP vaccine recommendations in a pandemic context, and the importance of maintaining adult vaccination during the current pandemic. Breakout topics included: Updates on new vaccines, vaccine preventable diseases, the Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS), vaccinating LGBTQIA+ populations, adult storage and handling, and vaccinating college students.

We are grateful to the many supporters and virtual exhibitors of this conference.

We also honor the 2021 MA Adult Immunization Champion: Heidi Bedard, RN for her outstanding effort to promote and foster adult immunization in MA at the Family Health Center of Worcester.


Conference Welcome


Welcome and Introductory Remarks
Amy Sgueglia, MSN, RN
MA Adult Immunization Coalition Facilitator


Morning Plenary A – 2021 Vaccine (Space) Odyssey
Robert Hopkins, Jr., MD, MCAP, FAAP
Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics; Director, Division of Internal Medicine UAMS College of Medicine

Dr. Hopkins advised that while 2020 is behind us, 2021 presents with many challenges on which to hone our  immunization knowledge and skills.  In this presentation, Dr. Hopkins discusses aging, how it can affect vaccine choice; practical approaches to integrating shared clinical decision making in vaccine programs; communication strategies for vaccine hesitant patients; and COVID vaccine access, availability, hesitancy, and  information.  Dr. Hopkins offered tools and potential solutions to vaccination challenges.

Morning Plenary B – COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations
Andrew Kroger, MD, MPH
Medical Officer, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Dr. Kroger reviewed the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for COVID-19 vaccines.  Topics covered included clinical considerations for use including precautions, screening, and management of anaphylaxis.


Morning Plenary C – COVID Vaccinations in Massachusetts: Distribution and Rollout
Pejman Talebian, MPH, MA
Director, MA Department of Public Health, Immunization Division

During this session, Pejman Talebian, Director of the Immunization Division at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, discussed COVID-19 vaccination distribution and rollout across the Commonwealth.


Session A – Looking Through the Lens of Women’s Health: Vaccinating LGBTQIA+ Populations

Nandini S. Choudhury, LCSW, MPH
Women’s Health Program Coordinator, Fenway Health


Rebekah Viloria, MD

Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Fenway Health

Healthcare providers who work with persons who identify as LGBTQIA+ face unique barriers to getting their patients vaccinated. In this session, challenges in LGBTQIA+ vaccination and strategies for breaking down barriers to vaccination were reviewed. Vaccinations for persons who identify as LGBTQIA+ were also discussed from a women’s health and OBGYN perspective.


Session B – Adult Immunization 101
Laurie Courtney, MSN, RN
Immunization Nurse Manager & Perinatal Hepatitis B Coordinator, MA Department of Public Health, Immunization Division

During this session, the adult immunization schedule was be reviewed, along with the principles of vaccination, required documentation when administering vaccines, and how to screen patients for contraindications and precautions to vaccines.  Vaccine safety, common vaccine errors, and how to report errors & vaccine-adverse events were discussed. COVID-19 was be included. This was a great session for new staff!


Session C – MIIS: Beyond the Basics
Joseph Conte, BS
Roll Out and Help Desk Coordinator, MIIS Department of Public Health, Immunization Division

The Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS) is the official source of immunization data in the Commonwealth. During this discussion, presenters provided an overview and demonstrated various functionality including enhancements to support COVID-19 vaccination available in the MIIS, such as Coverage, Reminder Recall, Invalid Dose and Practice Profile reports. Attendees became familiar with tools in the MIIS that provide information about data quality and HL7 messages. The target audience for this presentation was current MIIS users who would like to learn more about using MIIS functionality to explore their data, including reporting features.


Afternoon Plenary D – National Immunization Update and Latest Recommendations, and Q&A
Andrew Kroger, MD, MPH
Medical Officer, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Dr. Andrew Kroger discussed the changes to the ACIP Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule, focusing on changes to the specific vaccines measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, varicella (Var) vaccine, zoster vaccine (Shingrix), human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, influenza vaccines, and meningococcal vaccines. He also described routine adult immunization in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. A discussion of CDC’s vaccinate with confidence program followed.


Session D – Vaccinating College Students: A Panel Discussion

Kathryn Ahnger-Pier, MPH
Epidemiologist, MA Department of Public Health, Immunization Division



Ann Becker, RN, DNP
Clinical Associate Professor & Public Health Director, UMass Amherst, College of Nursing



Joanne Belanger, RN, BS
Director of Health and Human Services, City of Lowell Health Department


Denise Dwyer, NP
Nurse Practitioner, North Shore Physicians Group

Whether administering routine immunizations or responding to an infectious disease outbreak, vaccinating college students can be challenging. In this panel discussion, a summary of the current immunization requirements for college students in MA and a review of current vaccination rates was presented. Presenters also outlines their experiences responding to infectious disease outbreaks on college campuses, collaborations with campus and local response partners, and opportunities for collaboration between colleges and local boards of health.


Session E – Vaccine Storage and Handling in the Time of COVID-19
Shumethia Seal, MPH
Vaccine Unit Manager, MA Department of Public Health, Immunization Division

Proper vaccine storage and handling is crucial for patient safety and vaccine effectiveness. In this session, best practices for vaccine storage and handling, including COVID-19 were summarized, as well as how to resolve common storage and handling issues. Attendees were made aware which adult vaccines are available through the MDPH vaccine unit.


Session F – Vaccine Preventable Disease Epidemiology in MA During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Marija Popstefania, MPH, MS
Epidemiologist, MA Department of Public Health, Epidemiology and Immunization Division

This scenario-based session covered recent trends in the epidemiology of vaccine-preventable diseases, including COVID-19, and provided an overview of current guidance concerning COVID-19 prevention and control in a variety of settings.


Thank you to our 2021 Virtual Exhibitors!

Thank you to our dedicated Planning Committee:

Alexandra Burke, JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc; Amy Sgueglia, JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc.; Ted Clark, MDPH; Pam Worthington, MDPH; Laurie Courtney, MDPH; Joanne Belanger, Lowell MA; Korey Hoffman, American Cancer Society; Susan Lett, MDPH; Pejman Talebian, MDPH; Melissa Enos, MDPH; Angela Kramer, Ludlow MA


For information on registration, reimbursement, continuing education certificates or other issues relating to the virtual conference, please contact Conference Manager and Registrar, Alexandra Burke at 617.385.3874 or by email at alexandra_burke@jsi.com

View the conference website here


April 13, 2021
8:00 am - 4:00 pm
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Massachusetts Adult Immunization Coalition
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