In the U.S., vaccines1 have significantly reduced or eliminated many infectious diseases that once routinely killed or harmed many infants, children, and adults. However, the viruses and bacteria that cause vaccine-preventable disease and death still exist and can be passed on to people who are not protected by vaccines.
The CDC states that all adults need Influenza (flu) vaccine shot every year and Td or Tdap (Whooping cough) vaccine shot2 . For the 2015-16 season, manufacturers have projected they will provide between 157 to 168 million doses3 of injectable influenza vaccine for the U.S. market. With every flu shot, the patient should receive a Vaccine Information Statement.
What’s a Vaccine Information Statement (VIS)?
Every time you get certain vaccine shots, you are given a Vaccine Information Statements (VISs). Vaccine Information Statements are information sheets produced by the CDC that explain both the benefits and risks of a vaccine to vaccine recipients. The National Vaccine Childhood Injury Act4 requires that all vaccine providers, public or private, provide a VIS to a patient, parent, or legal representative before each dose of certain vaccines. The appropriate VIS must be given prior to the vaccination, and must be given prior to each dose of a multi-dose series. It must be given regardless of the age of the recipient.
There are Different Ways to receive a VIS
In the past, healthcare providers and public health entities interpreted federal law as a requirement that a paper copy of each VIS had to be handed to the recipient prior to vaccination, and that the recipient must take this copy away with him or her following the vaccination.
The evolution of electronic media has resulted in broadening of this interpretation. For example, now:
- A practice may produce permanent, laminated, office copies of each VIS, which may be read by recipients prior to vaccination.
- VISs may be reviewed on a computer monitor (or any video display).
- VISs may be downloaded by the recipient to a smartphone or other electronic device to read at his or her convenience. (VISs have been specially formatted for this purpose.)
- VISs may be made available to be read before the immunization visit (e.g., by giving the patient or parent a copy to take home during a prior visit, or telling them how to download or view a copy from the Internet). These patients must still be offered a copy in one of the formats described previously to read during the immunization visit, as a reminder.
- Providers must still offer a copy (which can be an electronic copy) of each appropriate VIS to take away following the vaccination. However, the recipient may decline.
Vaccines who require (VIS), as of March 20135 :
- Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis containing vaccines (DTaP, DT, Td, and Tdap)
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Influenza (both Inactivated and Live, Intranasal vaccines)
- Pneumococcal Conjugate (PCV13)
Vaccines go through years of testing before being licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Both the CDC and FDA continue to monitor vaccines for safety after they are licensed. Vaccine side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. The most common side effects include soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given. Severe side effects are very rare.
While vaccines are generally safe, Jay Harold wants you to have the information needed for making an informed decision concerning your health.
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