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News in Brief: Week of July 11-15
By News Staff
Boostrix Now Approved for Use in Adults 65 and Older
The vaccine, which is marketed as Boostrix, initially was approved in 2005 as a single booster dose for people ages 10-18 years. In 2009, the agency approved GSK's application to expand use of the drug as a booster for adults ages 19-64.
The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the AAFP make the following recommendations (4-page PDF; About PDFs) regarding Tdap vaccine:
- Administer a one-time dose of Tdap to adults younger than 65 who have not received Tdap previously, or for whom vaccine status is unknown, to replace one of the recommended 10-year tetanus and diphtheria toxoids boosters.
- Adults 65 and older who previously have not received Tdap and who have close contact with an infant younger than age 12 months also should receive a one-time dose of the vaccine.
- Other adults 65 and older may receive one Tdap booster dose.
- Tdap may be administered regardless of interval since administration of the most recent tetanus- or diphtheria-containing vaccine.
Mayo Clinic Online 'Community' Links Patients to Support, Information
Joining the Mayo Clinic online community is free and open to everyone regardless of whether a person has ever been a patient at the clinic. Users browsing the community can participate in discussion forums with people who have similar medical problems, read content from Mayo Clinic blogs, watch health and medical videos, and explore links to news articles about research and treatment advances.
HHS Issues Proposed Rules for Health Insurance Exchanges
The proposed rules establish minimum standards for the exchanges, and are intended to give states the flexibility they need to design exchanges that "best fit their unique insurance markets and are consistent with steps states have already taken to move forward with exchanges," according to HHS. Although the health care reform law requires insurance plans on the exchanges to provide an "adequate" network of physicians and other providers, HHS will allow states to determine what is considered adequate.
The rules focus on two key areas, according to HHS:
- setting standards for establishing exchanges covering the individual and small group markets, performing the basic functions of an exchange and certifying health plans for participation in the exchange; and
- ensuring premium stability for plans and enrollees in the exchange, especially in the early years as new people come into the exchanges to shop for health insurance.