Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare
August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). This annual observance highlights the efforts of all healthcare professionals to protect patients of all ages against vaccine-preventable diseases through on-time vaccination.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of life, including patients’ ability to attend important appointments and receive routine vaccinations. Many patients had to postpone or cancel appointments and still may not have had the opportunity to catch back up on needed healthcare.
During NIAM, encourage your patients to schedule appointments to ensure they are up to date on annual exams and recommended vaccines. Research has consistently shown that healthcare professionals are the most trusted source of vaccine information for parents and patients.
Use NIAM as an opportunity to access CDC educational resources like the #HowIRecommend Video Series, which offers simple and practical guidance for having successful vaccine conversations with parents and patients. These short videos demonstrate how to make effective vaccine recommendations, address common vaccine questions, and take a team-based approach to vaccination.
For those patients who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination, you play a critical role in helping vaccine recipients understand the importance of vaccination and that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Check out this toolkit on Talking to Recipients about COVID-19 Vaccination, where you will find resources to help you share clear and accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines, raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination, and address common questions and concerns about what to expect when getting vaccinated.
CDC has developed CME activities to help healthcare professionals have successful conversations with parents about vaccines. Access this CME activity:
- How Nurses and Medical Assistants Can Foster a Culture of Immunization in the Practice: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/ed/vaccine-communication/foster-culture-of-immunization.html
For information on how to talk to parents about COVID-19 vaccination for adolescents, check out the Pediatric Healthcare Professionals COVID-19 Vaccination Toolkit. Even if you are not administering COVID-19 vaccines, you can help parents and guardians feel confident in choosing to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19 by addressing their questions and assuring them of the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
The Public Health Foundation and CDC have developed a digital communication toolkit with messages and graphics tailored to your role as a healthcare professional emphasizing the importance of vaccination for your patients. Show your practice’s support of vaccination throughout the month by using this content on your website and on social media. During NIAM and beyond, you can engage with CDC and other healthcare professionals on social media by using #ivax2protect in your posts.
I invite and encourage you to also check out this CDC resource: Interim Guidance for Routine and Influenza Immunization Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic. There’s a wealth of information on this landing page.