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Using social media to help parents get vaccine questions answered

November 7, 2017

About the Author

photo of Claire McCarthy, MD

Claire McCarthy, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Claire McCarthy, MD, is a primary care pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. In addition to being a senior faculty editor for Harvard Health Publishing, Dr. McCarthy … See Full Bio
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Liz Feinauer
November 11, 2017

Combined 3-vaccine Series Vaccination coverage among children 19-35 months for the state of Kentucky: 83.8%, (CDC, 2017a). Global vaccination has stalled at 86% (WHO, 2017). Immunizations currently advert an estimated 2-3 million deaths per year, and an additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided if global vaccination rates continue to improve. Worldwide, an estimated 19.5 million infants are missing out on basic vaccines (WHO, 2017). Vaccinations have become a controversial topic for many expectant mothers today. I know on my social media accounts I have people posting both perceived positive and negative aspects of vaccinations. However, the data shows that vaccines lead to positive implications worldwide and prevent millions of deaths. The study discussed in this post seemed to be beneficial. Having access to the website for parents to gain information and ask questions increased the rates of vaccination significantly. The CDC has a good video about some vaccination statistics which can be found at this link: (CDC, 2017b).

CDC. (2017a). 2016 Childhood Combined 3-vaccine Series Coverage Report. Retrieved from

CDC. (2017b). For parents: Vaccines for your children. Retrieved from

WHO. (2017). Immunization coverage. Retrieved from

November 9, 2017

I have recovered form premature rapture of membrane at 20 weeks with loss, from Agu2017 Now preparing for another try and my MFM Dr. recommended a flu vaccine before pregnancy for both of us. We never had flu vaccines, and I am really scared to do it especially there is not enough research if it is safe for women who are planning to conceive and the potential of miscarriage as possible effect. Can anyone please share your knowledge about these saftey and side effects concerns? From my understanding flu vaccines are recommended for pregnant women who will have their baby during flu season May-Oct. How beneficial and safe are these flu vaccines pre-pregnancy condition while having the baby in non flu season ?

November 9, 2017

I’ve been talking about this issue with a friend. I think we’d both describe ourselves as highly educated consumers (we both have PhDs) who value evidence-based practice. We’ve found that when we have had specific questions about the recommended vaccine schedule or specific vaccines, our questions tend to be met with anything ranging from thinly veiled impatience to downright hostility (“you can’t fix stupid”), both from others in our social network and medical providers. People are quick to jump to the assumption that we reject all vaccines or just believe that vaccines cause autism. Neither of these assumptions are true, but instead of getting answers to our questions, we have to focus on disproving those assumptions. It’s tiring and quite frankly off-putting to get this reaction to what are usually well thought-out and specific questions, and I can see how some parents who may not be as conversant with science and scientists end up cutting their losses and choosing not to vaccinate.

November 7, 2017

The one question I have never had answered properly by a pharmacist or health worker is why there has been no vaccinated unvaccinated studies on any populations. It could be done retrospectively using health records but the government refuses to do it. Why?

Donald Hackett
November 7, 2017

pharmacists are also using Facebook and Twitter to better educate patients on the latest vaccine news. Pharmacies are delivering 30%+ of non-pediatric immunizations.

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