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Posts Tagged ‘vaccine information’

Vaccine Apps for Your Apple or Android

December 27, 2013 1 comment

If you were fortunate enough to get a new smartphone or tablet this holiday season, here are a few vaccine related apps to add to your device.          

vec-app-iphoneVaccines on the Go: What You Should Know

The Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (VEC) has always been an excellent resource for scientifically accurate information about vaccines.  Now, with the creation of Vaccines on the Go: What You Should Knowbusy parents can access important information about the science, safety and importance of vaccines, wherever and whenever they need it.

This free mobile app for Apple or Android devices provides extensive details about vaccines, the diseases they prevent, and common vaccine safety concerns such as autism, thimerosal and the number of vaccines on the schedule.  The app also addresses the various types of vaccines that are available, how they’re made, and includes links to the recommended immunization schedules for children, teens and adults.  Users have the ability to access an extensive library of videos, Q&A sheets and booklets that utilize engaging graphics that help depict disease characteristics, such as levels of contagiousness and typical disease timelines.

There is even a useful function that allows parents to develop a list of questions and save them with other notes they would like to discuss with their doctor.  If they prefer to get their questions answered right away, they can utilize the app to send a direct email to the Vaccine Education Center for follow-up.

And of course, no app would be complete without a few items of entertainment and this app delivers the fun with vaccine related games such as hangman, match and memory.

Download the Vaccines On the Go App for Apple Devices Here

Download the Vaccines On the Go App for Android Devices Here

Solve the Outbreak

solvetheoutbreak_355pxIf you are teacher, student, parent or science lover looking for a fun and interactive game, try downloading a clever iPad app from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called “Solve the Outbreak”.  In this game, players receives clues and analyze data in order to solve infectious disease cases and save lives.  With a total of twelve different outbreaks, this free app let’s you become a member of the Epidemic Intelligence Service where you will have the opportunity to climb the ranks from Trainee to the ultimate title of Disease Detective.  Along the way you’ll have to decide – do you quarantine the village, talk to people who are sick or ask for more lab results? Act fast and you can save a whole town, state, or even a country. Come up with the wrong answers and, well…you can always try again!

cdcappscreenshot1By engaging in this game, players not only learn about diseases, but they gain appreciation for the CDC’s real-life Disease Detectives who work 24/7 on the front lines of public health helping to investigate and isolate new outbreaks that occur day after day.

With the budgetary cuts we’re seeing in both education and public health, this app is a fascinating way to demonstrate epidemiology at work and possibly encourage students to pursue a career in the sciences.  So why not see if you have the creativity and ingenuity it takes to be a Disease DetectiveDownload the app for here and share it with others in your life.  You can even post your scores on Facebook or Twitter and challenge your friends to do better!

Download Solve the Outbreak App Here 

These are just two of the most recently updated vaccine related apps that are available for download.  Check out the Immunization Action Coalition website for a list of other immunization apps that are geared to healthcare providers and their patients.

So Much More Than Just The History of Vaccines

July 13, 2012 64 comments

I have been reading The History of Vaccines blog and referencing the website since it was first launched back in the fall of 2010.

Initially, the site appealed to me because I wanted to gain a better understanding about the history of vaccines.  I’m often concerned that the success of vaccines – in reducing the overall incidence of disease – can sometimes be a detriment in that it means some parents have not witnessed the dangerous diseases that we vaccinate for.  Subsequently, they may remain unconvinced that they need to continue to vaccinate themselves or their children in order to prevent what they consider to be relatively rare occurences.

One example occurred when I watched a recent episode of Pregnant in Heels. I had been alerted that the show’s host, Rosie, would be helping an expectant mother, Nia, who was not planning to vaccinate her newborn baby.  One of the explanations that Nia gave for not vaccinating her child was that she felt vaccines were “antiquated”.  She defended that statement by saying, “Who gets polio anymore?”  It was a shocking realization to me that many parents are just not that familiar with the history of diseases and the ways in which we have learned to prevent them through successful immunization.

This is why, almost two years after the launch of The History of Vaccines site, that I continue to refer people to this comprehensive resource.  The information they provide – in a clear, concise and easy to understand format – helps educate readers on more than just the history of vaccines.  For instance, there is an entire section devoted to parents that includes educational activities such as How Vaccines Work, Herd Immunity, How Vaccines Are Made, and Types of Vaccines

And what’s even better is that they have recently launched a Spanish version as well.  All their articles, most popular activities and their vaccine timeline are now available by clicking the Español tab from the main website, or through a separate landing page at www.historyofvaccines.org/es/content. Additionally, if readers are viewing an English resource that is also offered in Spanish, they will see a toggle button allowing them to choose the language that’s best for them.  Add to that the fact that the History of Vaccines is supporting a Spanish language Twitter account @historiavacunas, and it’s clear that this vaccine resource can be extremely helpful for Spanish-speaking providers and parents.

So, if you haven’t explored the History of Vaccines website, I encourage you to do so today.  And while you’re at it, please share the site with parents you know, who like Nia, may not have a thorough understanding of the history, and future impact, of vaccines.  You may even want to share what activities you found most interesting and why.

Choosing Vaccination For Your Child Is An Informed Decision

January 27, 2012 35 comments

When it comes to issues regarding disease prevention, our choices impact our children now and throughout their adult life.  Whether we choose to vaccinate our children or not, or delay certain vaccines or not, we are making decisions that have consequences.

A child who falls ill with a vaccine preventable disease may end up just fine.  However, others will have to endure permanent health problems.  And still others will suffer and die, like the many whose stories appear on sites like Vaccinate Your Baby and Shot by Shot.

Earlier this week a comment on the Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page that made me think about the challenges parents face.  A concerned mother, seeking guidance states:

“I have a 28 month old son and have been delaying and selectively vaccinating. I am looking for a neutral page where I can find information to help me make decisions about what vaccines to get. This page appears to be a page that will deliver only one side of the story. Where can I go to get information both positive and negative about vaccinating? I am faced with some decisions very soon and wish to make an informed decision. I have read some information about vaccines, but not enough to be comfortable just yet.”

I have heard these sentiments echoed time and time again.  When faced with uncertainty, parents often delay or selectively vaccinate until they can feel more comfortable with the idea.  While I understand this rationale on an emotional level, I believe that parents must begin by understanding the importance of research, science and statistics in order to make an informed decision.  In other words, it’s not that parents should look for a “neutral page”, as this mother suggests, but more importantly, an accurate one that uses scientific evidence to support their recommendations. Read more…