About Vaccine Conversations with Parents
Resources for Vaccine Conversations are
- Based on formative, mixed-methods research.
- Informed by risk communication principles.
- Reviewed extensively by subject matter experts.
Every day, you and your staff work to keep kids healthy and safe. You answer parents’ questions, remind them of visits, and address a variety of health concerns. One of the conversations you probably have with parents on a daily basis is about protecting their children from vaccine-preventable diseases. And they listen: research shows that parents’ most trusted source of vaccine information is their child’s doctor or nurse.
What’s important for parents to know about vaccines?
Vaccines are one of the biggest public health success stories in the United States. Because US immunization rates are high, many vaccine preventable diseases don’t have the visibility they once had and many parents don’t see or hear about actual cases and just how dangerous these diseases can be. They also have access to conflicting and often inaccurate information about vaccines. Some may ask you about the need for a particular vaccine – or for vaccination in general. Your challenge? Provide the level of information needed by parents and to keep the vaccine conversation going.
Current research shows that
- Health care professionals are the ones moms turn to with vaccine questions.
- Doctor visits and immunizations, say moms, are important for keeping kids healthy.
- Many physicians find personal stories effective in communicating with parents who are reluctant to vaccinate their children. These stories can be about vaccinating their own children or about experiences in their own practices with vaccine safety and vaccine preventable diseases.
CDC is committed to maintaining public trust in immunizations by working to ensure the safety of vaccines and providing timely and transparent information about vaccine benefits and risks. Working with partners like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), CDC develops, reviews, and updates resources to help health care professionals talk to parents about vaccines, vaccine-preventable diseases, and vaccine safety.
These resources may help you start or continue a vaccine conversation with parents; the materials also are effective educational tools for parents to supplement the conversations you have with them.
You may hear questions from parents based on information they read online. Many parents turn to the internet for health information about their children, but they may not know which sites to trust. Tell parents about CDC’s vaccine website just for them. This site was designed based on research with parents and includes vaccine information tailored by a child’s age, easy-to-read immunization schedules, vaccine safety information, vaccine risks and benefits, and much more.
Current research shows that
- Parents don’t know much about vaccine-preventable diseases.
- Parents want to hear consistent information from sources they consider credible.
- Parents cited the internet as a frequent source of vaccine information.
As a vaccine provider, your clinical experience discussing immunization issues and concerns with parents is important to us. Based on your continued feedback, input from our partners and continued research, CDC will continue to develop up-to-date resources and tools to help providers like you communicate effectively about immunization and increase childhood immunization rates in your practice. If you have comments on using these tools or suggestions on adding to the toolkit, please send an anonymous email.