SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2018

Association of Immunization Managers asks for support in vaccine education and programs

The Association of Immunization Managers (AIM) said on Friday that it supports an American Academy of Arts and Sciences' report that asked for more research on parental trust in vaccines.

The report, "Public Trust in Vaccines: Defining a Research Agenda," revealed gaps in understanding attitudes and parental decisions about vaccines. The report asked for support from the government and private foundations to support and prioritize research to help fill the gaps.

"With outbreaks of measles, mumps and whooping cough threatening children across the country, public health immunization programs are prioritizing efforts to promote vaccine confidence," AIM Research Coordinator Katelyn Wells said.

A recent AIM survey showed 87 percent of immunization programs have prioritized actions such as using mass media campaigns to educate physicians and parents.

"Additional research to understand how to effectively communicate factual information to vaccine-hesitant parents will improve these public health efforts and protect more children," Wells said.

Another study released by AIM encouraged states to not adopt belief exemption policies for vaccines and strengthen current policies to include parental education of known risks posed by not vaccinating children.

"Most parents today haven't seen disease," AIM Executive Director Claire Hannan said. "But with measles, mumps and whooping cough on the rise, parents need to understand the risks and benefits of vaccine. Public health immunization programs need better insight on how to communicate with parents. We hope that the AIM Position Statement on Personal Belief Exemptions provides guidance to programs, and that the Academy's report results in additional communication research. Our nation's children deserve the greatest opportunity for a healthy life."