National Immunization Information Hotline: Calls concerning adverse events, 1998-2000

J Health Commun. Sep-Oct 2004;9(5):387-94. doi: 10.1080/10810730490503487.


Data from the National Immunization Information Hotline (NIIH) concerning vaccine adverse event inquiries were analyzed from 1998 to 2000 (total n = 23,841 [public n = 14,330; health care professionals n = 9,511]). Approximately 20% of calls from the public from 1998 to 2000 concerned vaccine adverse events. These calls increased 199.5% from 1998 (n = 422) to 1999 (n = 1,264), then declined 12.4% from 1999 to 2000 (n = 1,107). A Lexus Nexus search showed that the number of news stories mentioning vaccine safety showed a similar pattern. Women were more likely to call the NIIH concerning vaccine adverse events than men, and persons 40-59 years old and persons 60 years old and over were less likely to call about vaccine adverse events than those 20-39 years. The parallel trends in news stories mentioning vaccine safety and calls to the NIIH concerning adverse events suggests that news stories may stimulate questions about vaccine safety. Understanding that news stories may elicit questions about vaccine adverse events and examining the characteristics of persons who ask vaccine adverse event questions may guide future informational interventions toward those most in need.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hotlines / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Immunization / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • United States