New tools to help counsel parents hesitant about vaccines

August 25, 2011

The start of school means an increase in questions about vaccine safety from parents who need to update their children?s immunizations. Just in time, FDA has archived materials that pediatricians can use to reassure parents of the safety of the recommended vaccine schedule. Read how to access these materials and others that might be helpful.

The start of school means an increase in questions about vaccine safety from parents who need to update their children’s immunizations. Just in time, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has archived a Webinar and associated materials that pediatricians can use to reassure parents of the safety of the recommended vaccine schedule.

The half-hour Webinar presented in mid-August covers the steps in developing and approving a vaccine and the FDA’s role in ensuring the safety and efficacy of the vaccines recommended for use in the United States. Clearly designed to address concerns of parents about the benefits and potential risks of immunizations for their children, the presentation attempts to assure consumers by telling them that FDA employees are parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents and that they have complete confidence in FDA-approved vaccines for their own families.

Pediatricians may want to offer screenings of the Webinar with interpretation or explain the material in the slides themselves. Although the presentation materials provide an excellent introduction to the process of vaccine development and go to some effort to explain terms, all parents may not easily understand some language that’s used. Phrases such as “information on safety, immunogenicity, and dose ranging” and “pivotal randomized control trial to determine efficacy” may be problematic.

In addition to the FDA materials, the American Academy of Pediatricians released a fact sheet for parents this summer to specifically address concerns about vaccines and autism. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recently updated the materials in its provider resources for vaccine conversations with parents.

Go back to the current issue of the eConsult.