CARING FOR CHILDREN:
Use Every Opportunity to Administer Immunizations
Because the majority of childhood immunizations are administered before a child's second birthday, you can help parents adhere to recommended timeframes by immunizing babies during both well and sick visits, as appropriate. When one or more immunizations are missed, parents face additional challenges in attempting to catch up, such as school schedules and anxiety about shots and needles experienced by children.
Best practice: Review the child's immunization schedule at every visit and take advantage of additional opportunities (such as sick visits) to bring the child’s immunizations up to date.
Talk to Parents about Vaccine Safety
It's a good habit to start a conversation about vaccines from the first visit after a child is born. When a parent is ambivalent about the safety of immunizations, an early discussion can avoid delayed or skipped visits. And since time at well visits is at a premium, fears allayed early can avoid stress for all parties.
Since you are a parent’s most trusted source of information about vaccines, your personal relationship uniquely qualifies you to help them understand and ultimately feel confident when they choose to vaccinate their child. You can download unbiased brochures about vaccine safety from cdc.gov and display them in your waiting room.
Here are some tips for fielding questions about whether or not vaccines cause autism:
- Reassure parents that you understand their child’s health is their top priority and it is also yours.
- Advise them that if there was a link between vaccines and autism, you would not be willing to take that risk with their child.
- Confirm that it is your personal and professional opinion that vaccines are safe.
- Remind parents that vaccine-preventable diseases, which may cause serious complications and even death, remain a threat.
Our goal is that all vaccines be administered when you recommend them. If a parent refuses to vaccinate, keep the door open for future discussions about choosing vaccination and use both sick and well visits to approach the subject again.