Immunization Roundup: Resources to share with families

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, an annual observance highlighting the importance of vaccinations in people of all ages.

The immunization schedule outlined by Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has been shown to be the most effective and safest way to protect children from potentially fatal diseases.

Nevertheless, many families lack knowledge about vaccines, especially due to the rise of misinformation on the internet.

The following is a collection of useful immunization resources—both for providers and for the families they serve—intended to encourage families to vaccinate and to quell worries brought on by vaccine myths.

General immunization references

Providers can direct families to these resources about the safety of and necessity for immunization in general.

Vaccines at a glance
This choc.org page that lays out the importance of vaccines, defines herd immunity and debunks common myths in a simple, reader-friendly way.

American Academy of Pediatrics 2019 Immunization Schedule
The CDC and AAP agreed-upon recommendations for immunizations for ages 18 and under, this resource clearly outlines timing of vaccines based by age, appropriate intervals for vaccine catch-up and special situations.

If you choose not to vaccinate your child, understand the risks and responsibilities
If parents decline recommended vaccines for their child, it is important to inform them that the decision creates major risks not only to their own child, but to every unvaccinated person they meet. This handout clearly defines the responsibilities that comes with this choice.

Condition-specific vaccine information to give to families

Diseases and vaccines that prevent them-for parents of infants and young children
This list breaks down vaccines by the conditions they prevent, including English and Spanish versions.

What vaccines does my teen need?        
Vaccines aren’t just important for babies. Teens need to be vaccinated too! Parents should be aware of vaccines that will benefit their adolescents.

The HPV vaccine: a pediatrician’s perspective
With all the talk of infant vaccinations, it’s easy to forget that some immunizations occur later in adolescence. This Kids Health blog outlines the important vaccines for teens, including meningococcus (MCV), human papillomavirus (HPV), tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) and others.

What parents should know about measles
Once labeled dormant in the US, measles are on the rise worldwide—most recently marked by a historically high number of cases in 2019. This Kids Health blog gives a thorough look at measles and the accompanying vaccine.

Vaccine talking points and tips for providers

American Academy of Pediatrics tips for talking to vaccine-hesitant parents
A resource for providers outlining best ways to approach parents who are hesitant to vaccinate—includes mythbusting, suggested approaches and strategies and a breakdown of types of parental attitudes toward immunizing.

Talking with parents about vaccines for infants
A guide to speaking with parents about vaccines, including common parental concerns and questions, communication strategies and suggested responses.

Presentation: 10 ways to create a culture of immunization within a pediatric practice
This CDC slide deck outlines ways hospitals can integrate accepted vaccine practices and incorporate all staff in the adoption of immunization culture.

Physician Wellness: Benefits of Gratitude

CHOC Physician Wellness Subcommittee Update
by Dr. Grace Mucci, Pediatric Neuropsychologist

Physician burnout is prevalent. According to the Mayo Clinic, up to 54% of doctors report at least one symptom of burnout. Further, it is estimated that the annual cost of that burnout is $4.6 billion per year in the form of physician turnover and reduced clinical hours, according to a study recently published by the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The experience of burnout results in feelings of cynicism, detachment from work, low sense of personal accomplishment, and emotional exhaustion. The reasons for burnout remain complicated, and a recent systematic review by the Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan revealed both individual characteristics of physicians and variables within the working environment as contributory factors.

More specifically, work load appeared to be one of the main drivers and includes working hours, overnight duty, administrative duties, schedule and flexibility, and complexity of tasks. Feeling disconnected from colleagues or patients, poor communication or cooperation between colleagues and dealing with patients who disagree with treatment choices are additional sources of burnout.

Just as the causes of physician burnout are multi-factorial, the solutions encompass many strategies that include engaging in various lifestyle changes and systemic interventions.

One individual intervention that has been receiving more interest among researchers is gratitude. A 2017 study at UC Berkeley shows that the health benefits of expressing gratitude include increasing resilience to stress and boosting mental health. Gratitude also has been found to strengthen relationships and enhance mindfulness.

So, just how can we implement gratitude in everyday life? Here are a few ideas that can be applied easily:

  • Express gratefulness for the beauty in nature
  • Give thanks before eating food that has been prepared
  • Acknowledge service people you encounter throughout the day, such as a barista or worker
  • Keep a gratitude journal and write about all the things you’re thankful for prior to retiring for the night
  • Remember to tell your loved ones how much they are appreciated and one thing that you are grateful that they do every day
  • Surprise coworkers or even strangers by performing a random act of kindness
  • Keep a gratitude board where you document things you are thankful for, and be sure to review those items when you are having a difficult moment

At CHOC, several initiatives that promote this practice of expressing gratitude are underway. CHOC has partnered with the Institute for Healthcare Excellence (IHE) to offer an outstanding curriculum that helps build respect, trust and compassion, ultimately improving communication and empathy toward co-workers and patients and restoring joy to the practice of medicine.

In addition, CHOC’s Physician Wellness Subcommittee is busy planning a Wall of Gratitude in the physician dining room, where doctors can show gratitude and appreciation for their peers in real time.

We know that peer-to-peer recognition is important for strengthening the level of engagement and positive bonds among colleagues. We have all experienced the satisfaction of receiving kudos from our peers, and we want to make this easier and more visible to others. As we continue to advance these initiatives, be sure to practice those small but powerful strategies of expressing gratefulness in your everyday life.

CHOC recognized as one of nation’s best children’s hospitals

CHOC Children’s is one of only 50 pediatric facilities in the nation to earn recognition as a best children’s hospital by U.S. News & World Report. The following CHOC specialties are honored in the 2019-20 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings: diabetes/endocrinology, cancer, neonatology, neurology/neurosurgery, pulmonology and urology. Cancer ranked in the “top 20.”

“The national recognition for CHOC’s cancer program is well-deserved. There’s nowhere else I’d rather have gone through treatment than CHOC,” says 17-year-old Sydney Sigafus, CHOC patient and cancer survivor. “Everyone who works at CHOC cares about you as a person, not just a patient. I was included in every decision and conversation about my care.”

The Best Children’s Hospitals rankings were introduced by U.S. News in 2007 to help families of children with rare or life-threatening diseases find the best medical care available. Only the nation’s top 50 pediatric facilities are distinguished in 10 pediatric specialties, based on survival rates, nurse staffing, procedure and patient volumes, reputation and additional outcomes data. The availability of clinical resources, infection rates and compliance with best practices are also factored into the rankings.

“We understand how scary it can be for parents whose children are dealing with life-threatening illnesses or injuries. That’s why we are committed to the highest standards of care, safety and service,” says Dr. James Cappon, CHOC’s chief quality officer. “While we are proud of our accolades, including being named a best children’s hospital, we remain focused on preserving the magic of childhood for all kids, whether they are seriously ill or healthy, or somewhere in between.”

More information about the Best Children’s Hospitals rankings can be found here.