From the annual influenza season and the beginning of the school year, to the threat of vaccine-preventable disease that travelers may face while abroad, there are many reasons for healthcare providers to be knowledgeable about immunization and be prepared to inform their patients.
There are credible, scientifically-backed resources that providers and patients alike can use to be informed and protected. We rounded up some of the best online resources to help providers and patients with all kinds of vaccine-related issues and questions.
The CDC Immunization Schedule – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains a robust webpage dedicated to immunization schedules that anyone can bookmark. The webpage includes a comprehensive version in color and black-and-white PDF forms, as well as links to order free pamphlet versions or purchase laminated copies. There are easy-to-read charts showing immunization schedules based on vaccine and age group as well as medical indicators, as well as a pocket-sized schedule and mobile app providing immediate access. The webpage also includes information for patients, including interactive tools to help parents maintain their child’s schedule.
The Purple Book app – Healthcare providers may be familiar with “The Vaccine Handbook: A Practical Guide for Clinicians,” which is colloquially known as “The Purple Book.” The Vaccine Handbook App transforms the guide’s entire text and visual aids into an easily searchable, mobile device format that providers can easily access.
The Journey of Your Child's Vaccine – For parents that may have questions about the process that vaccines go through from manufacturing to approval, the CDC has developed an easy-to-follow infographic. It is available as a PDF for printing and as a readable text equivalent for creating custom documents.
Shot of Prevention – Hosted by Vaccinate Your Family (see below for more on this organization), “Shot of Prevention” is a blog that brings together medical professionals, parents and others to discuss issues regarding vaccinations. It covers news, research and commentary, and makes immunization topics more accessible with posts such as "Five Important Reasons to Vaccinate Your Child," "What Parents of Every Teen Should Know about Meningitis," and "Make Sure Your College Student Has These Shots Before Returning To Campus.”
Seattle Mama Doc – Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson is a pediatrician and Chief of Digital Innovation at Seattle Children’s Hospital. As a part of the hospital's website, the multimedia blog includes podcasts, videos, social media feeds and a book. Dr. Swanson shares both anecdotal and statistically-supported information, designed for nervous parents. Recently, she worked with the innovation teams and Seattle Children's Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital to release a new “Flu Doctor” skill for Amazon’s suite of Alexa-enabled interactive devices with influenza information for parents.
Science Daily Vaccines News – Science Daily’s Health section covers an enormous range of topics with a robust Vaccines News webpage. However, it is also a very thorough, comprehensive collection of knowledge and news about vaccines and diseases, providing a wide-ranging look at the field including current events ("Survey Shows Widespread Skepticism of Flu Shot”) as well as the occasional look back in history (“Lessons from the 1918 Flu Pandemic, 100 Years On”).
CDC’s Immunization Education & Training – The Immunization Education & Training webpage is an excellent resource for continuing education, with training programs and modules that will help providers fill in gaps in their knowledge. It has links to webcasts and self-study courses, practice tests to put knowledge to work, and materials to support providers’ own efforts to educate their patients.
FDA approved vaccines – This webpage is a simple but comprehensive list of each vaccine that is licensed for use in the United States, with the vaccine’s clinical name as well as its trade name. Each vaccine listed carries a hyperlink to more information, including the manufacturer and any important indications, packaging details and supporting documents.
Vaccinate Your Family – Formerly known as Every Child By Two, Vaccinate Your Family (VYF) is a national nonprofit that works to raise awareness and understanding of the benefits of vaccines. As Every Child By Two, the organization focused on promoting child vaccination by age two. Now, it has expanded its mission to turn the spotlight on vaccine health for all ages. The VYF website is patient- and family-oriented, limiting clinical language in favor of easy-to-understand information, organized by sections devoted to specific vaccination needs of different patient populations, such as children, pregnant women, and travelers.
The Immunization Partnership – Like VYF, The Immunization Partnership is a nonprofit dedicated to increasing knowledge, awareness and advocacy of good vaccination practices. It is involved in lobbying for evidence-based legislation and policy, having conducted more than 1,000 legislative visits and provided more than 70 testimonies before legislative bodies. The Immunization Partnership is geared more toward advocacy and activism than education, sharing information such as toolkits for coalition building, upcoming events, and provider resources through its website.
National Immunization Awareness Month – Each August, communities are encouraged to devote resources to raising awareness of vaccine health. This webpage from the National Public Health Information Coalition is a home base for the month, and includes links to tools and resources (including logos and other useful visual pieces) as well as informational articles that help with advocacy efforts.
NVIC Advocacy – The National Vaccine Information Center’s advocacy webpage is an information-rich resource for vaccination advocates – particularly those involved on the state and national levels. It includes separate “Team Pages” for each state, listing public officials’ names and contact information, as well as recent legislative activity. This site requires the creation of an account, but registration is free.
Government & Regulatory Links
Vaccines for Children Program – The CDC’s Vaccines for Children Program (VFC) provides free vaccines to children who face financial hardship in some U.S. states and territories. This webpage has links to available state pages, as well as important resources for awardees, providers, and parents.
State Exemptions – Procon.org is a research-heavy site that looks at opposing sides of various public issues, including vaccinations. The webpage provides useful material, such as this chart of vaccinations that are required for public school kindergarten enrollment. It is a handy quick reference to see what conventional vaccines are – and are not – required in a given state.
CDC Storage/Handling Kit – This webpage includes a downloadable PDF version of the CDC’s Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit. The toolkit is a substantial resource at 82 pages long, and includes recommendations and best practices on managing inventory, transport, monitoring temperature, preparing for emergency storage, and other crucial elements in keeping vaccines safely stored.
For additional resources, please view our external resources list.