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March 7, 2019

A bill to promote the benefits of immunization will be heard in the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee on Friday, March 8.

Please take 1 minute to contact your House member and urge them to support this effort to increase immunization rates. Our voice needs to be louder than those contacting legislators with anti-vaccine rhetoric.

In short, HF 1182 would provide funding to the Minnesota Department of Health and community-based organizations to promote the benefits of immunization for those communities most at risk. The education efforts would be focused upon geographic areas or populations experiencing or at risk of experiencing an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease.

Talking points:
  • Vaccines prevent serious illness and save lives. Yet misinformation about vaccines is all too common, leading many parents to opt out of vaccines and put children and others at risk.
  • States with more permissive vaccination laws, such as Minnesota, are at increased risk for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease.
  • Data from the Minnesota Department of Health shows that several communities and schools have high rates of non-medical exemptions. In Wadena County, for example, 13 percent of Kindergartners are entering school without required vaccinations.
  • Targeted education is needed to counter myths and falsehoods about vaccination, especially in communities with high rates of non-medical exemptions.

Please take 1 minute to contact your House member and urge him or her to support HF 1182. 

1. Enter your home address to find your MN House member: https://www.gis.leg.mn/iMaps/districts/

2. Send him or her a brief email using the language above. Feel free to personalize or modify. Copy debilzan@mnaap.org so we can track outreach.

Another option is a quick call saying, “I’m a constituent in your district and pediatrician calling to convey my support for HF 1182, a bill to help provide education to communities with low vaccination rates.”

 

 

November 15, 2022

The Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics shares with the state’s childcare workers and school leaders a similar goal of keeping children healthy and safeguarding them as they grow and learn.

It is understandable that after years of stress and uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, increased cases of other respiratory illness, such as RSV, would bring about a desire for extreme caution. However, current guidance from the national American Academy of Pediatrics (Clinical Practice Guideline: The Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention of Bronchiolitis, 2014) states that testing for RSV testing is not indicated for the majority of children. Most children with RSV will have runny nose, cough and some may have a fever, similar to many other viral illnesses. In most cases, RSV testing does not predict who may go on to have a severe course. In most outpatient settings for children with bronchiolitis, routine specific respiratory viral testing has little effect on management and is not recommended.

Requiring testing of children or teens, particularly asymptomatic children and teens, for RSV to return to a group setting is not consistent with medical recommendations. RSV tests can stay positive for several weeks post-infection and should not be used to test for cure.

The decision to return to childcare or school should be based on clinical symptoms, including the child being fever free for at least 24 hours, lack of shortness of breath and some improvement of overall symptoms. Masking upon return from any upper respiratory illness also helps prevent transmission and should be encouraged in children older than two years of age upon return to group settings after an acute respiratory illness until symptoms completely resolve. We recommend following these community standard guidelines for returning to school, rather than requiring a letter from a physician.

We ask Minnesota childcare centers and schools to encourage families and caregivers to follow reasonable procedures to help prevent the spread of
respiratory illness in the childcare setting. There are many viruses that cause similar respiratory illnesses and all should be treated with good hand washing hygiene and keeping a sick child home while they are symptomatic.

A note to parents and caregivers: To help keep healthcare facilities that care for children from becoming overwhelmed, please keep all eligible children up-to-date with childhood immunizations, particularly influenza and COVID vaccines, which are both approved for children 6 months of age and older. Vaccination against COVID-19 and influenza decreases the risk of
severe illness and hospitalization.

View the statements here:

MNAAP RSV Childcare Guidance

MNAAP RSV School Guidance

Join the Early Childhood Work Group on Monday, November 28th, from 12:15 pm – 1 pm. via Zoom for its next installment in the speaker series.

This lunchtime event will feature Dr. Michael Georgieff, Martin Lenz Harrison Land Grant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, where he is executive vice-chair of Pediatrics, and Co-Director of the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain.

Dr. Georgieff’s talk will be about the developmental origins of mental health in children. He will discuss the importance of environmental influences in the first 1,000 days on the developing brain and how those influences can set a pattern for mental health across the lifespan. He will use nutrition as the primary example of environmental influence and at the end of the talk will discuss policy implications of when and how to intervene to optimize brain development and mental health in our children.

Join Zoom Meeting:
https://us06web.zoom.us/j/7703657035

Meeting ID: 770 365 7035

By Chad Fahning, MNAAP Lobbyist

DFL incumbents Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan were reelected to serve four more years in office. The DFL constitutional officers all went DFL as well, with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, Secretary of State Steve Simon, and State Auditor Julie Blaha all winning reelection. In his concession, Walz’s challenger Scott Jensen, MD said it best: “Republicans, quite frankly, didn’t have a red wave. It was a blue wave.”

Minnesotans reelected a DFL majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives (70 DFL, 64 R) and flipped the Senate (34 DFL, 33 R) to give the DFL control of the House, Senate, and Governor’s office – something unseen since 2014.

Three physicians – Matt Klein, MD, Kelly Morrison, MD, and Alice Mann, MD – were elected, all to the Senate. Three candidates made history: Erin Maye Quade, Clare Oumou Verbeten, and Zaynab Mohamed became the first Black women ever elected to the Senate. Mohamed is also the youngest woman elected to the Senate at age 25. Leigh Finke became the first trans person to serve on the Minnesota legislature, and Alicia Kozlowski became Minnesota’s first non-binary legislator. Both will serve in the
Minnesota House.

Minnesotans voted in 71 non-incumbent legislators, making up a significant portion of the 201 total seats. Fifty-seven of those have never served in either body at any point.

In the days following the election, the caucuses announced leadership positions. Sen. Kari Dziedzic was voted to be the majority leader in the Senate. They also voted Sen. Bobby Joe Champion as president of the Senate and Sen. Ann Rest to chair the Tax Committee and Sen. John Marty to chair the Finance Committee. Mark Johnson was voted as the new minority leader in the Senate. Other positions will be announced in the coming weeks.


In the House, Rep. Melissa Hortman will remain speaker. Rep. Jamie Long was elected as the new majority leader. The House Republicans voted Rep. Lisa Demuth as the new House minority leader.

The DFL’s flipping control of the state Senate breaks Minnesota’s four-year streak of a divided legislature. The 93rd Minnesota legislature convenes on January 3, 2023. DFLers, who now hold “the trifecta” of power, will be charged with approving a state budget with a likely $9+ billion budget surplus before adjourning on May 22, 2023.

MNAAP will be sending biweekly updates throughout the legislative session.

Close to 30 people dedicated their Thursday evening to discussing topics they believed the chapter should focus on in the upcoming legislative session as part of the MNAAP Policy Roundtable Discussion. The group met via Zoom.

After a brief overview of the election results and political landscape from MNAAP Lobbyist Chad Fahning, policy co-chairs Sue Berry, MD, FAAP, and Hannah Lichtsinn, MD, FAAP, facilitated a conversation in which participants were able to offer up two topics that they believed deserved legislative attention. Following the topic brainstorming, participants then voted to rank the topics. Concerns about mental health, climate change, vaccine laws, gun violence prevention, housing insecurity, paid family leave, early childhood education, social drivers of health, and much more were among the issues listed.

The chapter’s policy co-chairs will take final legislative priority recommendations to the MNAAP board of directors for approval at the November 17 board meeting.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Weekly Influenza and Respiratory Illness Activity Report for the week ending in Nov. 5 showed a serious uptick in the number of outbreaks of influenza-like illness (ILI) reported in schools.

The report indicated 97 new outbreaks in schools across Minnesota, compared with 15 outbreaks the week before. K-12 schools report an outbreak of ILI when the number of students absent with ILI reaches 5 percent of total enrollment or three or more students with ILI are absent from the same elementary classroom.

Flu season seems to have descended on Minnesota earlier than in years past, with this most recent data indicating this is the earliest spike in school outbreaks in at least five years.

Pediatricians know the flu vaccine is a safe and effective way to protect children ages 6 months and older during flu season. You can share that knowledge with your patients via social media using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) toolkit (available in English and Spanish).

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