A’Llyn already covered a bit of the Q&A portion of the vaccine-related section program, so I thought I’d fill in some of the earlier material and mentioned resources.

Raymond Strikas of the National Vaccine Program Office (CDC) spoke about adult and child vaccine schedules (and the fact that many adults don’t know there *is* an adult vaccine schedule), and vaccine safety. He addresses the total lack of evidence that vaccines cause autism, and noted that some who are anti-vaccination say it’s an issue of too many vaccines/antigens, but vaccines now (while more of them) contain much less foreign protein than they did in 1985. He also said that they have recommended a long-term study comparing kids who received all, some, or none of the recommended vaccines and who are the same except for their vaccine status, but that this is very difficult to do.

Some related resources:

Annabelle Nuñez of the Arizona Health Sciences Library spoke about an effort to get information on the HPV vaccines into the community. Annabelle is embedded with the public health department of her university. The project involved partnership with several institutional centers, including the Southwest Institute for Research on Women, National Center of Excellence on Women’s Health, and Women’s Studies Advisory Council, and the Pima County Cervical Cancer Prevention Partnership. They did forums exploring health consequences and social issues around HPV and vaccination, incorporating perspectives on research, health disparities, cultural considerations, other issues.

It may sound like a small thing, but it inspired me that they held their forums at the community center of a public library – it would have been easy to try to get the public to come to the University, but I think their public library choice was probably much more accessible. Annabelle also spoke about the need to include a community pediatrician who was aware of the perspectives of parents on the vaccine and community needs, and to have break-out sessions with experts at the forums for further discussion.

Alexandra Stewart of George Washington University spoke about myths and misperceptions regarding vaccines, including three case examples. These included the idea that autism is related to vaccination, and recent vaccine court cases concluding that those promoting this association between the MMR and autism had failed to provide supporting evidence and relied on inadequate expert witness testimony, lacking adequate scientific evidence to make the case. Another case discussion focused on health care workers in New York State who objected to compulsory influenza vaccination, while a third focused on efforts to require HPV vaccination to meet school entry requirements.

Finally, Kristine Sheedy of the CDC spoke about the challenges of doing communication during the previous influenza season when “swine” or H1N1 influenza was a dominant concern. She noted that the CDC’s site was topping out at 6 million hits per day during the peak of interest, and also described their use of social media to get out the vaccination message.

A couple of final resources:

  • Adolescent and Adult Vaccine Quiz – online self-assessment tool to help individuals figure out which vaccines they may need to talk to a healthcare provider about
  • flu.gov – influenza info hub with resources for individuals and professionals
  • Call 800-CDC-INFO or email nipinfo@cdc.gov for more information
  • Frontline: The Vaccine War (watch the full program online)