Nurses Essential in Easing Parental Concerns about Vaccination

Parents consider health care professionals one of the most trusted sources in answering questions and addressing concerns about their child’s health. A recent survey on parents’ attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors regarding vaccines for young children — including vaccine safety and trust — found that 82% of parents cited their child’s health care professional as one of their top 3 trusted sources of vaccine information. With so many parents relying on the advice of health care professionals about vaccines, a nurse’s recommendation plays a key role in guiding parents’ vaccination decisions.

My daughter isn't afraid to pay a visit here

“A nurse’s expertise, knowledge, and advice are vital in creating a safe and trusted environment for discussing childhood immunizations,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, CDC’s Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “How you communicate with parents during routine pediatric visits is critical for fostering parental confidence in the decision to vaccinate their children.”

The survey also found that 71 percent of parents were confident or very confident in the safety of routine childhood immunizations, although parents’ most common question is what side effects they should look for after vaccination. Twenty-five percent are concerned that children get too many vaccines in one doctor’s visit and 16 percent of survey participants are concerned that vaccines may cause autism.

“Reinforcing vaccine safety messages can go a long way towards assuring parents that they are doing the best thing for their children,” says Patsy Stinchfield, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner who represents the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. “One of the best ways you can establish trust with parents is by asking open-ended questions to help identify and address concerns they may have about vaccines. Also, restate their questions and acknowledge concerns with empathy.”

Make sure to address questions or concerns by tailoring responses to the level of detail the parent is looking for. Some parents may be prepared for a fairly high level of detail about vaccines how they work and the diseases they prevent while others may be overwhelmed by too much science and may respond better to a personal example of a patient you’ve seen with a vaccine-preventable disease. A strong recommendation from you as a nurse can also make parents feel comfortable with their decision to vaccinate.

For all parents, it’s important to address the risks of the diseases that vaccines prevent. It’s also imperative to acknowledge the risks associated with vaccines. Parents are seeking balanced information. Never state that vaccines are risk-free and always discuss the known side effects caused by vaccines.

If a parent chooses not to vaccinate, keep the lines of communication open and revisit their decision at a future visit. Make sure parents are aware of the risks and responsibilities they need to take on, such as informing schools and child care facilities that their child is not immunized, and being careful to stay aware of any disease outbreaks that occur in their communities. If you build a trusting relationship over time with parents, they may reconsider their vaccination decision.

To help communicate about vaccine-preventable diseases, vaccines, and vaccine safety, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have partnered to develop Provider Resources for Vaccine Conversations with Parents. These materials include vaccine safety information, fact sheets on vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases, and strategies for successful vaccine conversations with parents. They are free and available online.

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A few new faces at Oregon VFC

The Oregon Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program has transformed the way compliance site visits will be conducted around the state. Routine site visits and unannounced visits will now be administered by one of our friendly new compliance specialists.

This new structure will help Oregon meet the Center for Disease Control (CDC) program requirements. The VFC health educators will now be available for primarily new VFC clinic enrollment, education and quality improvement projects. Please join us in welcoming Gil, Marc, Isabel and Gaby to the VFC compliance team! In addition to our four new compliance specialists, we are also excited to introduce our newest health educator, Sara Kiely!



Gillis Garrott- Compliance Specialist

Before joining the VFC team, Gil served as a chemical officer in the United States Army. He graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a degree in Integrative Physiology. Gil is excited to be living in Portland Oregon and supporting the immunization compliance program. He was interested in this position because it offered the opportunity to help people gain access to proven and fundamental healthcare. He looks forward to seeing more of Oregon and getting to experience some of its many hiking trails. He also plans on increasing his current level 9 trainer status in Pokémon GO, go red team!



Marc Taylor- Compliance Specialist

Marc is a Compliance Specialist who has worked for the State of Oregon for over four years.  He comes to the VFC team from the Department of Human Services where he investigated assisted living facility complaints. Marc has a diverse background, ranging from Oregon Paramedic to Law Enforcement officer. He is active in amateur radio, photography, Search & Rescue, and is excited to join a group dedicated to the health and safety of all Oregonians.



Isabel Stock- Compliance Specialist

After interning with the Immunization Program to improve HPV vaccination efforts across the state, Isabel is now a Compliance Specialist who will be conducting unannounced storage and handling visits. Isabel is a Eugene native and a recent graduate from Colorado State University, where she studied Health and Exercise Science with a concentration in Health Promotion and a minor in Business Administration. In her free time she enjoys hanging out with her friends and family and traveling the world.



Gabriela Tanaka- Compliance Specialist

Gaby is a Compliance Specialist who has worked with the Oregon Health Authority for three years. She comes to the VFC team with experience in many different facets of healthcare, having worked with insurance companies, home health care agencies, and with Biomerieux, a life sciences company. A native Bostonian, Gaby enjoys bicycling around Portland, Visual Arts and Theatre. She has bicycled from Seattle to Portland and has her sights set on one day completing a bicycle tour from NYC to Niagara Falls.



Sara Kiely- Health Educator

Sara joined the Immunization Program as a Health Educator in November of 2016.  She is a native Oregonian who comes to us with a strong background in Public Health Education and Human Resources. Sara recently returned to Oregon after spending two years in West Africa working at a Nutrition Center for Liberian refugees. She has experience in health education, volunteer management, nutrition counseling, human resource services, and working with diverse populations. She has a passion for public health and for serving the underserved. She is looking forward to working with our partners across the state to improve the health of all Oregonians.

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Oregon Grant Funding Opportunity – short timeline –

Immunize Oregon Grant Opportunity is HERE!

Applications are due December 7, 2016

What: Immunize Oregon is proud to announce our 10th cycle of immunization grants! The Immunize Oregon grant program has supported many fantastic projects that have increased or enhanced immunization across Oregon.

Why: Grants are available to organizations interested in promoting and educating about immunizations, strengthening immunization infrastructure, or holding immunization related events.

**** APPLY NOW ****

Who: Any agency or clinic (public or private) that provides/promotes or would like to provide/promote immunizations in Oregon are eligible to apply.

When: Application deadline is December 7th, 2016 at 5 PM (PST). If awarded, funds must be spent by 6/30/17.

Where: Application documents can be found at the Immunize Oregon website.

For any question, please contact Alison Dent at

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Teen SWAG Night Success


States across the country are starting to adopt the Coordinated Care Organization (CCO) model that Oregon was the first to implement in 2012. A CCO is a network of all types of health care providers that work together in their local communities for people to receive health care coverage under the Oregon Health Plan. The goal of this model is to make quality care accessible, eliminate health disparities, and control costs for the populations CCO’s serve. To reach this aim, Oregon has 16 CCO’s that are required to report on eighteen health care quality measures that are in incentivized. One of these eighteen incentivized measures include Adolescent Well Child visits. Yamhill CCO (YCCO) is finding a creative way to meet this measure, as well as other preventative health measures, all in one night.

YCCO partnered with three local health clinics to host Teen SWAG Night. Teen SWAG Night was designed to increase Adolescent Well Child visits and improve adolescent immunization rates. This model guides patients through an interactive, passport style, well child visit by breaking the appointment into stations. Stations include: check-in, eye check, height, weight, blood pressure, games, food and the last station is the one-on-one doctors visit lasting fifteen minutes. This style optimizes the number of patients that can be seen during the four hour event while at the same time keeping patients engaged and satisfied with their visit.

Clinicians that partner with YCCO say, “SWAG night helps build a strong relationship with their patients through this engaging event, increases the chance a patient returns for another visit, and changes patients view about going to the doctor.” One clinician added that, “with strong coordination and partnership with their CCO this event creates no financial burden on the clinic and enhances the primary care delivery system.”

SWAG night proved to be a success — allowing approximately 145 patients to receive an Adolescent Well Child Visit in one evening. This innovative approach to well child visits helps to meet health care quality measures, improve immunization rates and helps support attendance for visits throughout the lifespan for the population that the CCO serves.










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ACIP drops recommendation of LAIV/nasal spray for 2016-2017 flu season


As many of you already know, ACIP voted to remove Flumist® from the list of recommended flu presentations for the 2016-2017 season. More specifically:

“CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) today voted that live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), also known as the “nasal spray” flu vaccine, should not be used during the 2016-2017 flu season. ACIP continues to recommend annual flu vaccination, with either the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) or recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV), for everyone 6 months and older. ACIP is a panel of immunization experts that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This ACIP vote is based on data showing poor or relatively lower effectiveness of LAIV from 2013 through 2016.”


To help you better communicate this message to your patients and staff, here are two excellent primer articles:

1. “No Flu Nasal Spray Next Season: Why Is This Vaccine Not Working?”, June 23, 2016,

2. “Intranasal FluMISSED its target.”, July 12, 2016,

If you have further questions about how this will affect your clinic’s state-supplied flu order, please call Jennifer Steinbock at 971-673-0309.



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Filed under ACIP, All Posts, Flu, Oregon Immunization

2016 Oregon Flu Summit & More

Registration Now Open

While August 23rd may seem a summer’s worth of sunshine away, registration is already filling up. Be sure to reserve your spot at this year’s Oregon Flu Summit & More! More than just influenza, we have expanded this conference to cover a wide range of immunizations. This is the perfect opportunity for public health officials, health care providers and vaccine and related vendors to collaborate and learn about the latest information on the topic of immunizations.

Our objectives this year are:

  • Share practice and evidence-based strategies for improving immunization coverage across the continuum of care.
  • Provide up-to-date information and guidance for all stakeholders involved in prevention, control, and treatment of vaccine preventable illnesses.
  • Explore uses of communication and outreach techniques to reach target populations.
  • Identify vaccination-related challenges and solutions.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our website for the Oregon Flu Summit & More. We will be posting speaker information, exhibitor information, and update the agenda so you can see more about this exciting event.

Be sure to Register Now.

Keynote Speaker

We are pleased to announce that our keynote speaker for the Oregon Flu Summit & More is Dr. L. J. Tan from the Immunization Action Coalition. He will be tackling the topic of Maintaining the Future of Immunizations which will discuss the process of vaccine development, costs, value in public health and policy recommendation. This is a must see!

Read more about Dr. L. J. Tan.

Special HPV Educational Event

Immediately following the Oregon Flu Summit & More is a special educational event on HPV: You are the Key To Cancer Prevention. This HPV vaccination provider training allows participants to earn one hour CME credit and can be registered for separately or in conjunction with your Oregon Flu Summit & More registration.

Find more instructions on registration here.

Lodging in Portland

Are you coming from out of town? One of the many great things about our venue this year is the availability of close accommodations. The Red Lion Hotel on the River – Jantzen Beach has a special rate for those attending the Oregon Flu Summit & More. Be sure to reserve your room before they fill up!

Details on Accommodations.

Follow us on Social Media

Facebook and Twitter are great ways to stay informed about new speakers, presentations, and what we have in store for you. Be sure to follow us:



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Oregon’s Childhood Immunization Champion

The Oregon Immunization Program is proud to announce that Christine Wysock, RN, ADN, Corporate Infection Preventionist for the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinics, has been selected as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Childhood Immunization Champion for Oregon.  CDC and the CDC Foundation hold this annual awards program to honor immunization champions across the 50 U.S. states, 8 U.S. Territories and Freely Associated States, and the District of Columbia during National Infant Immunization Week (April 16-23, 2016). Christine was nominated and selected from a pool of health professionals, community advocates, and other immunization leaders for making a significant contribution to public health in Oregon through her work in childhood immunization.


In her capacity as a nurse overseeing vaccinations in three of Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinics, Christine’s efforts to establish and maintain registries for infants and children have proven to be among the most successful in Marion County. Yakima Valley Farm Workers consistently rank among the highest in the county in AFIX reports on immunization coverage. Thanks in part to her efforts to educate her community and advocate for improved immunization practices, vaccination rates have risen in Woodburn from low 70th percentile to the 90th percentile within the county.

Young children rely on the champions in their lives to keep them safe and healthy. When families, healthcare professionals, and public health officials work together, all children can be protected from serious and deadly vaccine-preventable diseases.  Christine Wysock is an inspiration to all of us who care about children’s health in Oregon.  We are pleased and honored to congratulate her on this well-deserved award.

Please visit the Oregon Health Authority Immunization Program website to read about Christine and Oregon’s other distinguished nominees, Dr. Joel Amundson and Dr. Jay Rosenbloom.

To read Christine Wysock’s profile on the CDC’s website, and to learn more about CDC’s Childhood Immunization Champion Award program, please visit

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Filed under Oregon Immunization