Article in November 2000 Pediatrics Highlights the Need for Better Information on Immunization
Carrie Schum, (202) 973-5800
Diana Olson, (703) 299-0201
October 30, 2000
Chicago, IL - A new organization is being launched today - the National Network for Immunization Information (NNii). NNii was formed to meet the pressing need for timely, accurate, clear, objective information on immunization issues, a problem outlined in an article in the November issue of Pediatrics, Do Parents Understand Immunization? co-authored by NNii Executive Director, Bruce G. Gellin, M.D., M.P.H.
A media briefing on the Pediatrics article, NNii, and other immunization issues will take place at 1:00 PM in Room E260 of the Lakeside Center at McCormick Place in Chicago, in conjunction with the American Academy of Pediatrics annual meeting.
“We surveyed parents nationwide to see what their attitudes about immunization were,” said Gellin. “We found that, although the vast majority of American parents understand the importance of immunizations, about one in four have important misconceptions that could wrongly undermine their confidence in vaccine safety. This is a more critical issue, because this loss of confidence can lead some parents to withhold some or all immunizations, needlessly placing their child - and their community - at risk for outbreaks of infectious disease.”
He continued, “NNii’s job is to help parents and others make informed decisions about immunization by ensuring that they have access to the information they need. That’s why we’re launching two new educational tools today, tools designed to help parents, doctors and nurses, and policy makers make better vaccine decisions: a resource kit entitled Communicating with Patients About Immunization, and a web site, www.immunizationinfo.org.”
The NNii materials were designed with extensive input from parents and health care professionals. The web site contains a searchable database of information on all the diseases prevented through the recommended childhood and adult immunizations, as well as information on additional vaccine-preventable diseases. It also includes a listing of all state vaccination requirements, and thrice-weekly Immunization Newsbriefs, which highlight vaccine issues in the news.
The NNii resource kit includes fact sheets on all routinely recommended vaccines, entitled Important Facts for Parents (or, for vaccines recommended to adults,) Patients to Know. These fact sheets were designed to work in concert with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccine Information Statements. The resource kit also contains extensive background on vaccine development and testing, vaccine safety, and common questions about vaccines. Tips for clinicians on how to address these issues with their patients are also included. The resource kit is available both in hard copy and on the www.immunizationinfo.org web site.
Both the web site and the resource kit will be continuously updated to ensure they contain the latest information. In addition to providing educational and communication tools, NNii will also serve as an independent voice on vaccine issues for the media and in legislative debates.
“We see NNii serving the role of an advocacy group for a better understanding of the facts about immunizations, including the benefits and risks of vaccines, and the consequences of the diseases they prevent,” noted Gellin. “Inaccurate and false information about immunizations is circulating on the Internet and in public debates, and tragedy can occur when immunization decisions are made on the basis of bad information. Through our efforts and materials, NNii helps those with questions get the answers they need and put any incorrect information they may have heard or read into perspective.”
NNii’s partner organizations are the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American Nurses Association (ANA). For more information on NNii and its partners, please visit the NNii website at www.immunizationinfo.org.