Communicating immunization science: the genesis and evolution of the National Network for Immunization Information

J Health Commun. 2012;17(1):105-22. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2011.585693. Epub 2011 Oct 25.


For 10 years, the National Network for Immunization Information (NNii) has pursued its goal to "provide the public, health professionals, policy makers, and the media with up-to-date, scientifically valid information related to immunizations to help them understand the issues and to make informed decisions." This investigation provides a critical evaluation of the strategic communication planning and implementation of NNii from conception to present day. The study uses a case study methodology, developing a systematic analysis of organizational documents, the media environment, and in-depth interviews by applying Weick's model of organizing as an interpretive framework. Iterative data analysis included open coding, axial coding, and thematic saturation. Themes were compared with phases of strategic communication and present study propositions. Major themes identified included the organization's informative nature, funding credibility, nonbranding, reflective evaluation, collaborative partnerships, and media strategy. NNii meets the requirements of requisite variety, nonsummativity, and organizational flexibility proposed by Weick's model of organizing. However, a lack of systematic evaluation of organization goals prevents it from adapting communication tactics and strategies. In addition, the authors recommend that NNii, while maintaining its informative nature, adopt persuasive strategies to attract and retain the attention of its target audiences.

MeSH terms

  • Health Communication / methods*
  • Humans
  • Immunization*
  • Information Services / organization & administration*
  • United States