22579 Vaccine Contraindication or Urban Legend?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Grand Hall
Teresa Anderson, DDS, MPH , Epidemiology Consultant, Immunization Action Coalition

Background: The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) is a nonprofit organization that works to increase immunization rates and prevent disease. Thousands of healthcare professionals call or write us every year with questions. Many providers write about situations or conditions that they feel or have “heard” are a contraindication to vaccination, most of which are actually not. Missing opportunities to vaccinate because of false contraindications leaves patients and their families susceptible to serious diseases.

Setting: Healthcare professionals can contact IAC via email and telephone. IAC keeps a record of the false contraindications described by the email correspondents.

Population: Healthcare professionals around the nation who provide immunization services, including physicians, nurses, medical assistants, physician assistants, pharmacists, etc.

Project Description: Vaccination contraindications and precautions are complex, especially with so many new vaccines and related recommendations. Providers are naturally concerned about doing the right thing and frequently error on the side of caution. For example, breastfeeding mothers can be given any vaccine except smallpox, yet many healthcare professionals question giving such a woman indicated MMR, Tdap, and nasal-spray vaccines. Following false contraindications can have negative consequences for the patient, the patient’s contacts, and sometimes entire institutions (such as when hospitals don’t vaccinate pregnant healthcare workers against influenza). This presentation will review the basic contraindications and precautions to vaccination and provide resources that participants can use to answer related questions in the future. The attendees in the session will jointly classify a range of scenarios as true or false contraindications to vaccination.

Results/Lessons Learned: Participants will learn the basic contraindications and precautions to vaccination and explore many false contraindications, with a focus on newer vaccines. Most importantly, they will gain skills and resources to help them judge the validity of a purported vaccine contraindication in the future.

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