Association of Immunization Managers Supports Efforts to Promote Vaccine Confidence

The Association of Immunization Managers (AIM), representing the 64 federally-funded state, territorial and large urban area immunization programs, applauds the American Academy of Arts & Sciences’ report calling for more research on parental trust in vaccines. AIM supports efforts to promote vaccine confidence and reduce the number of parents choosing not to
vaccinate their children or to delay vaccination.

The American Academy report entitled Public Trust in Vaccines: Defining a Research Agenda, announced April 24, 2014 in Science magazine and released online, outlines the critical gaps in understanding of parental attitudes and decision-making and provides recommendations for research. The report encourages government agencies and private foundations to support and prioritize cross-disciplinary research on immunization decision-making and the effectiveness of health communications.

“With outbreaks of measles, mumps and whooping cough threatening children across the country, public health immunization programs are prioritizing efforts to promote vaccine confidence,” said Dr. Katelyn Wells, AIM Research Coordinator. Recent AIM survey results show that most (87%; 47 of 57) immunization programs have prioritized activities, such as implementing public mass media campaigns to educating physicians on how to address the issue with 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,” added Dr. Wells.

AIM is making further efforts to support state, local and territorial immunization program efforts to promote vaccine confidence. The recently released “AIM Position Statement on Personal Belief Exemptions from State Vaccination Mandates,” encourages states and territories not to adopt new personal belief exemption policies and to strengthen existing exemption policies to assure that exemptions are only available after parental education and acknowledgment of the associated risk to their child and community.

“Most parents today haven’t seen disease. But with measles, mumps and whooping cough on the rise, parents need to understand the risks and benefits of vaccine,” said AIM Executive Director Claire Hannan. “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.”

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