Improving vaccine risk/benefit communication with an immunization education package: a pilot study

Ambul Pediatr. 2002 May-Jun;2(3):193-200. doi: 10.1367/1539-4409(2002)002<0193:ivrbcw>;2.


Introduction: The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) requires that physicians distribute the appropriate Vaccine Information Statements (VIS) at each immunization visit and discuss the risks/benefits of every vaccine given. In a national study, 31% of pediatricians reported not using the VIS and 56% indicated that time was a barrier to vaccine risk/benefit communication. Parents, however, indicated they want their primary providers to personally tell them about risks/benefits.

Objective: To test the feasibility of an Immunization Education Package (IEP) intervention to improve compliance with the federal mandate and to improve physician/parent vaccine risk/benefit communication.

Setting: Two multi-physician private pediatric practices in Shreveport, La.

Design: A before-after trial with comparison of 130 pre-intervention and 78 post-intervention visits. Research assistants recorded content and duration of immunization discussions during well-baby visits during which immunizations were scheduled. Clinic staffs were masked as to variables recorded.

Intervention: The IEP was a multifaceted intervention, involving a practice-based in-service and distribution and discussion of ready-to-use materials including an exam room poster entitled "7 Questions Parents Need To Ask About Baby Shots."

Results: Patients were 90% white and 96% privately insured. Pre and post results revealed a significant increase in VIS distribution (33% vs 91%, P <.001) and physician and nurse initiation of verbal teaching about the vaccine (65% vs 100%, 32% vs 72%, respectively; P <.001 for both), and parent initiation of questions (0% vs 32%, P <.001). A significant increase was found in the discussion of 6 of 8 major immunization IEP topics: contraindications, common side effects, treatment of common side effects, severe side effects, management of severe side effects, and schedule of the next vaccination. These vaccine communication improvements were made with a very small (20-s) increase in physician time. In post-intervention focus groups, provider staff endorsed the IEP method.

Conclusions: This IEP was a feasible way to facilitate compliance with the NCVIA. A significant amount of additional information was provided to parents with only a slight increase in time.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Professional-Family Relations*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Vaccination*