July 2007 MedBytes: Immunizations

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Immunizing Texas' adolescent and adult populations is a dominant part of primary care physicians' practices. The Web sites that follow feature the perfect dose of current information and helpful resources physicians can use to keep their patients on schedule with immunizations.

TexasMedical Association
The Texas Medical Association has made immunization an integral part of its public health mission. The Be Wise - Immunize SM initiative is one of the organization's most ambitious programs in its history. You can find out how to get involved in the program and access a wealth of resources at  www.texmed.org. From the home page, select Public Health and Science from the menu bar, click on Physician Resources and then Immunization. This area of TMA's site houses immunization schedules and standards; news alerts; TMA health tips; statistics, reports, and articles; details on conscientious objection law; vaccine safety guidelines; physician tools; and the new Be Wise - Immunize Physician Toolkit.

AmericanAcademy of Family Physicians
Transforming health care to achieve optimal health for the public is the vision of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), which represents more than 94,000 family physicians, family medicine residents, and medical students in the United States. AAFP's Web site,  www.aafp.org, presents well-organized, easy-to-access information on immunizations. On the home page, click on Immunizations under the Clinical Care & Research heading. You can participate in a six-part program that includes AAFP Immunization Schedules, AAFP Immunization Information, Influenza Vaccine Information, Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Information from Other Organizations, and Resources for National Influenza Vaccination Week. In addition, the Public Health section, found under the Clinical Care & Research heading, contains helpful resources on infectious diseases.

AmericanAcademy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Web site,  www.cispimmunize.org, takes a multifaceted approach to address the importance of vaccinating the public. The Immunization Initiatives feature directs you to resources that can be shared with families and clinicians. The Illnesses portion of the Immunization Initiatives section is home to one of the site's most innovative features. Physicians and patients can watch immunization videos that demonstrate how vaccines work and their effectiveness, and that address parental worries, the history of polio, and community immunity. The division of the site dedicated to clinicians is packed with links to resources that cover influenza guidance, vaccine supply, vaccine storage and handling, immunization of special populations, and more.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The National Immunization Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers links to current immunization events and initiatives. From the home page,  http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/, click on the Health Care Professionals tab to open a world of resources. This Web site isn't for the color-blind. The green Major Topics box directs you to helpful charts on vaccines, frequently requested information, diseases, resources, vaccine safety, and information broken down for children, adults, teenagers, college students, and other groups. As you scroll through the charts, pay specific attention to the rows of categories designated with a blue triangle, as these fields are of specific interest to health care practitioners. The gray box of Topics Below on the home page is a round-up of resources on education and training, reminder systems, patient education, guidelines, diseases and surveillance, and research and development. One of the highlights of the Web site is the Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit, an online video that illustrates how physicians can keep their vaccine supply safe.  

Texas Department of State Health Services
The Immunizations Branch of the Texas Department of State Health Services is a Texas physician's home on the Web for reference materials, school requirements, and the latest on vaccine-preventable diseases. Visit www.dshs.state.tx.us/immunize, and click on a topic from the menu on the left side of the screen to be directed to immunization schedules, Texas Vaccines for Children (TVFC) details, and information about the ImmTrac Texas Immunization Registry. The TVFC page includes training forms for physicians, news updates on vaccines, and quality assurance tools. The Information for Providers portion links to PDFs and resources relating to the latest news in immunizations, physician information, forms and documents, and immunization policies.

MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest toTexas physicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site. If you know of some interesting medical sites or have questions about how to use the TMA Web site, email Crystal Conde. Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by the Texas Medical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.  

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