“Communicating with Patients about Immunization”
Physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers are parents’ most
trusted source for immunization information. NNii has created a resource
kit to assist these professionals in answering parents’ questions and
discussing immunization-related issues.
Written by immunization experts and risk-communication
specialists, the NNii Resource Kit is designed as a comprehensive,
easy-to-use resource for physicians, nurses, and their patients. It includes:
A series of information sheets for healthcare providers to use as a
guide or a handout to educate parents simply, clearly, and effectively
at each of the key childhood visits (2-month, 4–month, 6–month, etc).
- Vaccine-specific information on childhood vaccines, including polio,
Hib, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, hepatitis A and B, measles,
mumps, and rubella, chickenpox, meningococcal, and pneumococcal
conjugate. This section includes the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention’s Vaccine Information Statements, which by law every provider
is required to distribute to parents. The section also contains two
other patient handouts developed by NNii to supplement the CDC Vaccine
Information Statements. Entitled ‘Important Facts for Parents to Know’
and ‘Frequently Asked Questions,’ these handouts provide interested
A more complete understanding of each vaccine and the disease it
Each disease’s symptoms and the risks of infection
The possible side effects of each vaccine
What parents should do if their child has a reaction to a vaccine
- Both of the NNii vaccine-specific patient handouts are written in
patient-friendly language, and use a consistent style and layout for
parents’ ease of reference and understanding. Each vaccine’s risk and
benefit ratios, for example, are explained using both percentages and a
consistent fraction expressed per 10,000 shots given, so they can be
easily compared from one vaccine to another.
- The Resource Kit also contains vaccine-specific information for each
vaccine recommended for adult use, from the more commonly known flu and
tetanus vaccines the less known and newer vaccines such as pneumococcal
conjugate (pneumonia) and varicella (chickenpox). Parallel to the
Childhood Vaccine-Specific Information section, this section again
includes the CDC Vaccine Information Statements and NNii patient
handouts to provide adult patients with a clear understanding of each
recommended vaccine and the disease it prevents.
- The Childhood, Adolescent, and Adult Immunization Recommendation
Schedules, along with Childhood Catch-Up Schedule and
Contraindications/Precautions Charts, are included in the Resource Kit
for ease of reference.
- The “Common Questions” section in the resource kit presents a series
of brief yet clear and accurate answers to difficult questions such as:
- Are vaccines safe?
- How are vaccines tested?
- How do vaccines work?
- Do vaccines use up or overload the immune system?
- How is the safety of vaccines monitored?
- Is it better to be naturally infected rather than vaccinated?
Providers can distribute these answers as patient handouts, or simply
use them as a guide. Each answer contains complete references to the
most current scientific literature.
- The Resource Kit also contains extensive background information
designed for those who desire a through understanding of vaccines and
related issues, such as how vaccines work, history and achievements of
vaccines, how vaccines are selected for routine use, how vaccines are
recommended, how vaccine use becomes law, and monitoring vaccine safety.
- The Resource Kit has a special section of additional resources, such
as Internet sites and telephone hotlines, for more information about immunizations
All materials in the Resource Kit can be easily reproduced on any
copy machine. Every page is dated so one can easily determine how
recently the material was updated. In addition, the most current version
of the Resource Kit is available on the NNii Web site at www.immunizationinfo.org