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About the National Immunization Surveys

The National Immunization Surveys are a group of phone surveys used to monitor vaccination coverage among children 19-35 months, teens 13-17 years, and flu vaccinations for children 6 months-17 years. The surveys are sponsored and conducted by the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and authorized by the Public Health Service Act [Sections 306]. Data collection for the first survey began in April 1994 to check vaccination coverage after measles outbreaks in the early 1990s.

The National Immunization Surveys provide current, household, population-based, state and local area estimates of vaccination coverage among children and teens using a standard survey methodology. The surveys collect data through telephone interviews with parents or guardians in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and some U.S. territories. Landline and cell phone numbers are randomly selected and called to enroll one or more age-eligible child or teen from the household. The parents and guardians of eligible children are asked during the interview for the names of their children’s vaccination providers and permission to contact them. With this permission, a questionnaire is mailed to each child’s vaccination provider(s) to collect the information on the types of vaccinations, number of doses, dates of administration, and other administrative data about the health care facility. Estimates of vaccination coverage are determined for child and teen vaccinations recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and children and teens are classified as being up-to-date based on the ACIP recommended numbers of doses for each vaccine.

Surveys Conducted by NORC

The National Immunization Surveys are run by NORC at the University of Chicago (http://www.norc.org/) under the direction of CDC. If you have any questions about the National Immunization Surveys, please call NORC toll-free at 1-877-220-4805 and leave a detailed message.

If you prefer to use a TTY, please call the AT&T Relay Service toll-free at 1-800-855-2880 and request that NORC be called at 1-877-220-4805.

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Current Surveys

CDC is currently conducting three surveys to assess vaccination coverage in children and adolescents:

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National Immunization Survey (NIS)

Purpose and Scope

The NIS was the first of the National Immunization Surveys, launched in 1994. The target population for the NIS is children who are or will be 19-35 months within a few weeks of being selected to participate in the survey and living in the United States. Data are used to monitor vaccination coverage among 2-year-old children at the national, state, selected local levels, and some in U.S. territories.

The NIS measures coverage of the following recommended vaccinations:

  • Diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP/DT/DTP)
  • Poliovirus vaccine (Polio)
  • Measles or Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine (MMR)
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine (Hib)
  • Hepatitis B vaccine (HepB)
  • Varicella zoster (chickenpox) vaccine (VAR)
  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)
  • Rotavirus vaccine (ROT)
  • Hepatitis A vaccine (HepA)
  • Influenza vaccine (Flu)

NIS collects data in two parts:

  1. A household telephone survey [81 pages]. This survey is answered by parents and guardians, includes questions about vaccinations for their children 19-35 months, and asks permission to contact vaccination providers. (See Frequently Asked Questions about the Surveys for Participants.)
  2. A mail survey of vaccination providers called the Immunization History Questionnaire [4 pages], (Spanish version [4 pages]). This survey is sent to doctors and other vaccination providers when a parent or guardian gives permission to collect data from vaccination providers. The Immunization History Questionnaire includes a reporting form for the types of vaccinations received, the number of doses, and the dates of administration. Questions are also asked about the practice, including the type of health care facility. (See Frequently Asked Questions about the Surveys for Vaccination Providers.)

For additional information on results from the NIS, see U.S. vaccination coverage, children (19-35 months).

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National Immunization Survey-Teen (NIS-Teen)

Purpose and Scope

The NIS-Teen was launched in 2006. The target population for the NIS-Teen is adolescents 13-17 years living in the United States at the time of the interview. Data are used to monitor vaccination coverage among teens at the national, state, selected local levels, and some in U.S. territories.

The NIS-Teen includes coverage of the following routine adolescent vaccines:

  • Tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis (Tdap)
  • Meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Influenza vaccine (Flu)

NIS-Teen collects information in two parts:

  1. A household telephone survey [79 pages]. This survey is answered by parents and guardians and includes questions about vaccinations for their teen 13-17 years and asks permission to contact vaccination providers. (See Frequently Asked Questions about the Surveys for Participants.)
  2. A mail survey of vaccination providers called the Immunization History Questionnaire [4 pages], (Spanish version [4 pages]). This survey is sent to doctors and other vaccination providers when a parent or guardian gives permission to collect data from vaccination providers. The Immunization History Questionnaire includes a reporting form for the types of vaccinations received, the number of doses, and their dates of administration. Questions are also asked about the practice, including the type of health care facility. (See Frequently Asked Questions about the Surveys for Vaccination Providers.)

For additional information on results from the NIS-Teen, see U.S. vaccination coverage of adolescents/teens (13-17 years).

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National Immunization Survey-Child Influenza Module (NIS-CIM)

Purpose and Scope

A short flu vaccination questionnaire, NIS-CIM, is conducted from October through June each year for children 6-18 months and 3-12 years. Parents and guardians are asked if their children had a flu vaccination and, if so, in which month and year. If the child received a vaccination, respondents are asked how many vaccine doses the child received and whether it was a flu shot or a flu nasal spray. Additional questions about flu vaccination are also asked.

National Immunization Survey-Flu (NIS-Flu)

The flu vaccination questions in the NIS-CIM are also included in the NIS and NIS-Teen. The NIS-Flu combines the flu vaccination responses collected from NIS (children 19-35 months), NIS-Teen (adolescents 13-17 years), and NIS-CIM (children 6-18 months and 3-12 years).  NIS-Flu data are used to assess annual flu vaccination coverage among children 6 months-17 years at the national level, state level, selected local levels, and some in U.S. territories.  These NIS-Flu estimates are based on the parent or guardian reported data.

For additional information and seasonal flu estimates, please visit FluVaxView.

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