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Talking with parents about vaccines for infants : strategies for health care professionals
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    Immunization professionals and parents agree: times have changed.

    Because of questions or concerns about vaccines, well-child visits can be stressful for parents. As their infant’s health care provider, you remain parents’ most trusted source of information about vaccines. This is true even for parents with the most questions and concerns. Your personal relationship uniquely qualifies you to help support parents in understanding and choosing vaccinations.

    However, time for infant health evaluation at each well visit is at a premium, as you check physical, cognitive, and other milestones and advise parents on what to expect in the coming months. Therefore, making time to talk about vaccines may be stressful for you. But when an infant is due to receive vaccines, nothing is more important than making the time to assess the parents’ information needs as well as the role they desire to play in making decisions for their child’s health, and then following up with communication that meets their needs.

    When it comes to communication, you may find that similar information—be it science or anecdote or some mix of the two—works for most parents you see. But keep a watchful eye to be sure that you are connecting with each parent to maintain trust and keep lines of communication open.

    We hope that these brief reminders—and the materials that you, your staff, and parents can find on our website— will help ensure your continued success in immunizing infants and children. Success may mean that all vaccines are accepted when you recommend them, or that some vaccines are scheduled

    for another day. If a parent refuses to vaccinate, success may simply mean keeping the door open for future discussions about choosing vaccination.

    Reviewed March 2012

    Publication date from document properties.

    talk-infants-color-office.pdf

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