FAQ's and Resources for Parents & Providers
FAQ's for Parents & Providers

Why should I immunize my child, aren’t most childhood diseases very rare now?

It is true that many childhood illnesses occur infrequently or even very rarely these days. Disease such as polio and smallpox are nearly unheard of in the United States due to the success of childhood immunization. Other childhood illnesses, such as pertussis, chickenpox, and measles still exist in the population. While we may consider these diseases to be minor in severity, they are capable of causing long-term disability and even death. Maintaining a high immunization rate provides protection for ourselves, and others that may be too young or too sick to be immunized.

Are there immunizations recommended for adults?

Yes. Several vaccines are routinely recommended for healthy adults, you may view the list on the Vaccine Schedule page. There are additional shots that may be recommended if you are in a high-risk health group.

What is cocooning? Who does it involve?

Cocooning is a strategy recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which encourages vaccinating all people who will be in contact with newborns and infants to protect newborns from disease by keeping all those around them disease free.

Cocooning is especially important to protect infants from the pertussis (whooping cough) disease, because infants are most likely to die if not treated by a doctor early in the illness.

Cocooning involves anyone and everyone who may come in close contact with the infant. This includes the mother, the father, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, any other relative, doctors, nurses, babysitters, daycare workers, nursery staff, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and anyone else you know will be holding and contacting the infant.

For more information, visit the following website: http://cocooning.preventpertussis.org/ 

What is mmTrac? How will it help me keep track of my child’s shots?

ImmTrac is the Texas Immunization Registry for Texans of all ages. It is a confidential registry that stores shot records for you, your children, everyone in your family, even if different providers gave shots. It is FREE, there is no charge to join and you can obtain shot records at anytime, at no cost. Authorized professionals, such as doctors, nurses, schools, and daycare centers can also access the shot history. As an adult, you can join ImmTrac by giving your written consent at any time. You can sign up your child when your child is born, at your child’s vaccination visit, or at any time.

For more information, visit the ImmTrac website: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/immunize/immtrac/

Child Consent Form (17 years of age or younger) http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/immunize/docs/c-7.pdf

Adult Consent Form (18 years of age and older) http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/immunize/docs/F11-13366.pdf

Is there mercury in vaccines?

In 2001, except for the influenza (flu) vaccine, thimerosal (ethylmercury) was removed from or reduced in all vaccines recommended for children 6 years of age and under.

All mercury is not the same: methylmercury is found naturally occurring in the environment and finds its way through the food chain into fish, animals, and humans while ethylmercury is a different form of mercury and is found in the influenza vaccine.

Ethylmercury is broken down differently and quicker than methylmercury and is less likely to build up in the body and cause harm. For a list of vaccines and their thimerosal (ethylmercury) content level, please visit this website: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Thimerosal document

For more information, please visit the website link below: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Concerns/thimerosal/thimerosal_faqs.html 

I have heard that vaccinations cause autism, is this true? Where can I learn more?

At this time, all the evidence shows that vaccinations do not cause autism. Multiple court verdicts and case outcomes, along with numerous research conducted by a variety of researchers worldwide throughout many years, all scientifically and with sound evidence support that vaccines or their ingredients do not cause autism.

While more research continues to be done to understand more fully what can cause autism spectrum disorders, parents and concerned citizens thankfully have access to credible information when seeking more information about this topic. Several recommended websites and documents are listed below:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Concerns/Autism/Index.html 

The Autism Science Foundation
Autism Science Research Topic Thimerosal
Autism Science Foundation Recommended Reading

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Center
Vaccines and Autism: What you should know document

The Immunization
Action Coalition Autism Resources
Clear Answers & Smart Advice About Your Baby's
Shots document

I have heard a lot of discussion but few facts about the HPV vaccination. How do I decide if I should have my daughter or son immunized?

The HPV vaccines prevent infection from the two most common types of Human Papillomavirus (types 16 and 18) that cause cervical cancer in females and from the two most common types of Human Papillomavirus (types 6 and 11) that cause genital warts in males and females. For maximum prevention, the vaccination (a series of three shots) should be given before the age of sexual activity. The current recommendation is 11-to-12 years of age; however, any age up to 26 years old is eligible. The decision to immunize your daughter or son can be complicated and emotional. You may wish to educate yourself by using the immunization resources, as well as discussing the topic with your child’s doctor. It is great that there is so much information available for parents concerning vaccines and vaccine safety. Parents should have as much information as possible when making decisions about their children’s health. Unfortunately, there is a lot of information that is actually misinformation or just untrue. Please follow the links below for accurate information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about vaccines and vaccine safety.

Basic and Common Questions About Vaccines and Immunizations

Additional Resources for Parents

American Academy of Pediatrics
website: www.aap.org

CDC Vaccines and Immunization
website: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/default.htm

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Vaccine Education Center
website: http://www.chop.edu/consumer/jsp/division/generic.jsp?id=75697

National Network for Immunization Information
website: http://www.immunizationinfo.org/

ImmTrac Texas Immunization Registry
parent brochure: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/immunize/docs/6-202english.pdf

Booklet “CDC Parent’s Guide to Childhood Immunizations” (68 pages)

Online videos
“Vaccines: Separating Fact from Fears” (27 minutes)
“Vaccines and Your Baby” (28 minutes)

Frequently asked Questions for Providers

What can I do to increase immunization rates?

  • Take advantage of each office visit (sick and well) to briefly, review the child’s immunization record. If a shot has been missed, it may be given that day or a follow-up appointment can be scheduled.
  • Participate in ImmTrac, the Texas Immunization Registry (see Physician Resources)
  • Consider participation in the Vaccines for Children Program (see Physician Resources)
  • Consider participation in the Denton County Immunization Coalition

What should I do if a parent does not want to immunize their child?

Be prepared to discuss the benefits of immunization and the low risk of side effects. Ask them why they are reluctant and address these fears or concerns. Have resource information available for the parent to review, as well as knowledge of reliable, parent-friendly internet websites (see Resources for Physicians/Providers).

Additional Resources for Physician/Providers

ABC of Childhood Vaccines (PowerPoint; downloadable as a 5 part series)
website: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/ABCs/default.htm

Immunization in a Medical Home Toolkit (PowerPoint)
website: http://www.cispimmunize.org/pro/pro_main.htmlmmunize.org/

2007 Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule
website: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/child-schedule.htm

Vaccine Information Statements
website: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/default.htm

Texas Vaccines for Children Program
website: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/immunize/tvfc/tvfc_prov_faq.shtm

ImmTrac Texas Immunization Registry
website: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/immunize/immtrac/imm_providers.shtm

ImmTrac Texas Immunization Registry
provider brochure: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/immunize/docs/6-218_Pg1.pdf