Patient Education and Vaccination Recommendations

Patient Education
Healthcare providers, particularly pediatricians, report a significant increase in time spent counseling parents about vaccine safety and the importance of following the recommended schedule. ECBT and its immunization partners realize that this might be challenging for busy office practices. To assist providers in educating their patients, there are a variety of immunization materials available.

ECBT's Vaccinate Your Baby (VYB) website was created specifically for families looking for more information on vaccines safety and the importance of timely immunization. The site contains information on the latest recommendations for vaccination and detailed information on vaccine safety and monitoring and the immunization schedule and how it is developed. One resource available on the Vaccinate Your Baby website (and on this website) that may be of particular help to parents looking for answers to their vaccine safety questions is Video Vaccine FAQs. To create this resource, ECBT posed 21 frequently asked questions (FAQs) about vaccines to several experts in the fields of immunization and autism. Another educational resource available to assist parents with questions or concerns is ECBT's Parents’ Guide to Immunizations. The Guide, which brings together resources from the CDC, ECBT and the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC), addresses the importance of immunizations for both children and adults (including pregnant women). The Guide, which is available in the Resources section of this website, can be printed and distributed.

The CDC, AAP and AAFP have also created a number of resources to help providers better communicate with parents about vaccinations. These resources are collectively called Provider Resources for Vaccine Conversations with Parents and they can be found on the CDC website. Materials include Talking to Parents about Vaccines, which offers strategies for successful vaccine conversations with parents and caregivers; If You Choose Not to Vaccinate Your Child, Understand the Risks and Responsibilities, a two-sided handout for parents that outlines the risks and responsibilities related to refusing to vaccinate a child; and disease fact sheets available in both English and Spanish. Additional recommended resources can be found in the Resources section of this website.

Vaccination Recommendations
It is well documented that a doctor's recommendation for vaccination is one the strongest factors when people are deciding whether or not to vaccinate themselves and their children.

In addition to recommending childhood vaccinations, providers should also strongly recommend immunizations for adults, particularly those who are parents and caregivers of young children or pregnant. Cocooning is the strategy of protecting infants from pertussis and influenza by vaccinating those in close contact with them. ACIP has recommended cocooning with Tdap vaccine since 2005 and continues to recommend this strategy for all those with expected close contact with newborns. Vaccinating during pregnancy, also a form of cocooning, provides the best opportunity to protect infants from pertussis and influenza. Due to concerns pregnant women have regarding vaccinations and their possible effect on their unborn child, OB-GYNs need to provide a strong recommendation for influenza and pertussis vaccinations to their pregnant patients. Advice from a healthcare provider plays a critical role in a pregnant and postpartum woman’s decision to get vaccinated against seasonal influenza. In addition to being an ACIP recommendation, the vaccination of pregnant women is recommended by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and many other medical associations and public health organizations.

Healthcare Worker Vaccination
Along with providing strong recommendations for vaccination to patients, healthcare providers need to be role models. Providers can help both themselves and their patients by ensuring they are up-to-date on their own immunizations. Healthcare personnel vaccination is a recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Some states require specific immunizations for healthcare workers. To learn which vaccines are required for healthcare providers in your state, visit the State Vaccination Requirements section of the CDC website.

Additional Resources
HHS Letter to Healthcare Workers on Flu Vaccine for Pregnant Women
Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety (IOM Report)
Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism (IOM Report)

Additional Resources