Check out our new blog!


Dear Reader,

We’ve worked hard to make MOMmunizations a useful resource for parents since it launched in 2012, and we’re proud of what we’ve developed.

At first, we wrote primarily for parents. We told their stories, we offered access to essential resources, and we shared powerful testimonials from pediatricians and survivors of vaccine-preventable diseases.

We will continue that coverage. But as The Immunization Partnership continues to grow and evolve, so must our blog. It’s time to expand our focus beyond parents — teens, young adults, and seniors need vaccines, too — and to integrate the stories and tips from our blog into our main website.

It’s with this in mind that we say goodbye to MOMmunizations here on WordPress and launch our new blog: TIP TalkThere, we’ll help readers more easily access additional tools, resources, and strategies they can use to speak up for vaccinations in their communities and online.

Please join the conversation by visiting:

Thank you for reading!

Anna C. Dragsbaek, JD
President and CEO of The Immunization Partnership

What You Read in 2015: Our 5 Most Popular Blog Posts

At The Immunization Partnership, we’re gearing up for another year of fighting for science-based vaccine education and policy. But before we move forward, we wanted to look back at what lifesaving, touching and inspiring stories our readers were most interested in last year.

7 Excuses for Skipping the Flu Shot—Debunked
We’re all about the flu shot at The Immunization Partnership, and it seems our readers are, too. It’s an essential public health tool that protects children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised; everyone should get it every year. Many people don’t. That’s why we broke down the reasons people cite for skipping it— and explained why they don’t hold water.

To the nurse who “bullied” me into getting the HPV vaccine: Thank you.
The human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine is one of our most vital and underused public health tools. If you don’t know how important it is, it might seem intimidating when healthcare professionals urge you to get one. That might be why this story—of feeling bullied by a nurse into getting the shot, then appreciating her efforts later—struck such a chord with our readers.

Switching Sides: From Anti-Vaccine to Pro
The eternal question: how do you encourage someone to rethink a stance on vaccines? Nicole shares the story of her conversion from vaccine hesitant to full-throated vaccine advocate. It’s no wonder readers loved this story: It gives an example of how we can impact the minority who do have concerns about vaccines.

Vaccines You Need Before Visiting a Newborn
Because newborns can’t receive vaccines at first, they rely on the rest of us to be up to date. We did a crash course in visiting a newborn and being up to date on everything. We’re thrilled that this post was so popular; kudos to everyone for doing the necessary research to protect the newborns in their life.

5 things you probably didn’t know about vaccines
We’re huge “vaccinerds” at The Immunization Partnership—vaccines are just so cool! We shared five immunization facts—everything from origin stories to their effect on pregnant women—that are downright fascinating, nerdy or not. Vaccines aren’t just lifesaving and safe, they’re fun!

Thanks for reading us in 2015. We’ll keep you up to date with the latest information, smart advocacy strategies,  and inspiring stories in the new year!

2016 Vaccine Resolutions to Make Now

New Years FireworksAfter all the champagne and midnight kisses, it’s now time to get started on your resolutions. Here are five resolutions you can make in 2016 to help protect yourself and your community.

Be a better vaccination advocate
Resolve to do more to educate your friends and family, expand access, and pass pro-vaccine legislation this year. Whether it’s sharing general guides, speaking up about specific illnesses, or navigating tricky situations, TIP has the tools to make you the vaccine advocate your community needs. Read up and resolve to do better in 2016.

Get caught up
Lots of people have vaccines they know the CDC recommends, but just haven’t gotten around to receiving—like HPV or the flu shot. Or maybe you’re missing some shots, but you’re not sure which ones. TIP’s guide to identifying and catching up on missing immunizations can help you there. Whatever your situation, make 2016 the year you get caught up and stay caught up.

The vaccine community always needs volunteers. The Immunization Partnership needs people to work events, contact legislators and more. Don’t see an opportunity that works for you? Look into your local immunization coalition to see how you can participate.

Pursue a career in vaccines
Do you want to devote your life to immunization awareness, access, research, or education? There’s no time like the present, and there are a ton of career paths available. Check out our guide to vaccine careers; start working towards a job that makes a difference this year.

Support The Immunization Partnership
Busy schedule? You don’t need a ton of time to make a difference for public health. The Immunization Partnership needs support, so we can keep doing import vaccine advocacy and education. Resolve to start supporting us in 2016, and we’ll put the money to good use.


Follow Your Heart: Vaccine Stories That Make an Impact

When talking with vaccine-hesitant friends or relatives, it’s tempting to list and cite the overwhelming evidence that vaccines are safe, effective, and vital to public health. But for many, this is an emotional issue, not a scientific one. Acknowledging and addressing the emotional side of the vaccination conversation (in addition to the cold, hard science) can go a long way in demonstrating to our loved ones how important immunizations are. Here’s how:   

Choose Your Facts Carefully
The facts overwhelmingly state that vaccines are safe and effective, but it’s important to be judicious when choosing facts to make your case. The goal should be to make this issue personal. A study about vaccine safety isn’t as likely to be effective as, say, the number of deaths vaccines prevent each year, or the infant mortality rate before the advent of modern vaccines. By using data about the human impact of vaccinations, you’ll touch their brain and their hearts.

Tell a Story
Stories are one of the best methods to bring life to the data and statistics. By going past the logical parts of our brain, a compelling story can often be more convincing than any study. Stories of individuals and families affected by vaccine-preventable diseases—like those available on ShotByShot.Org— can be powerful arguments in your favor. Stories can linger in people’s minds long after they’ve forgotten the scientific sound bites.

Provide Photos
Another great way to help facilitate an emotional tie-in? Pictures. Descriptions of the symptoms of measles are unlikely to sway opinions, but a picture of the red eyes and rashes it causes might make someone think twice. The CDC has a section on its website devoted to photos showing the damage vaccine-preventable diseases can cause.

Give Them a Solution
An emotional appeal works best when it can be paired with a simple action; luckily, vaccines provide just that. Once you’ve chosen which facts to highlight, and provided stories and photographs to augment those facts, it’s time to present the “call to action”:  Get up to date on your vaccine schedule as soon as possible!

2015 Year in Review: TIP’s Top Accomplishments

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 2.30.47 PMAs we move into 2016, we take a look back on The Immunization Partnership’s amazing year. Thanks to the support of people like you, we were able to advocate, educate, and pass immunization-related legislation like never before. Here are some of our favorite accomplishments from the last 12 months. 

Remember: We want to do more work like this in 2015, but we need your help! Donate here!  

We Got The Message Out
Digital or analog, TIP reached Texans wherever they were in 2015.  Our online presence was up 139 percent from 2014 and 883 percent from 2013; plus, almost 4,500 people were reached through in-person, science-based presentations regarding vaccination. We had press releases, op-eds and interviews appear in outlets with national profiles, like the Houston Chronicle and the Washington Post.  Our message—vaccines are vital to public health—was heard like never before.

We Passed Important Legislation
Our biennial TIP Day at the Capitol was a massive success. Forty-two vaccine advocates from across Texas came to Austin and received advocacy training. Then they hit the halls, sharing their knowledge and concerns with Texas lawmakers. Thanks to their hard work, TIP successfully passed two pieces of immunization-related legislation in the 84th legislature.

We Helped Prevent HPV
Here at TIP, we know what a breakthrough the vaccine for Human Papillomavirus is. The virus can cause cancer in both men and women; we’ll do everything we can to prevent it. HPV vaccination rates in Texas are alarmingly low, so we hosted two Lunch and Learns to educate medical professionals on advocating for the vaccine. We’re thrilled to empower medical professionals to help those in their community.

We Helped Lay the Groundwork to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases
When we weren’t busy helping Texans receive essential vaccinations, we were pushing into the next frontier of the vaccination movement. In July, we hosted a webinar on Neglected Tropical Diseases—deadly diseases that disproportionately affect low-income areas at home and abroad, many of which are not yet vaccine-preventable. Dr. Peter Hotez explained the work that’s being done, the work that still needs to be done, and what we as immunization advocates can do to help.

We Let Loose!
And we know how to have fun! Our Golf, Glamour & Games of Chance fundraiser—held at Top Golf in Houstonlet participants master their swing at the driving range and test their luck with blackjack and poker. We all got to see Houston artist Taft McWhorter create an original work on the spot, that was then auctioned off to a lucky guest. The best part? All proceeds went to our mission of vaccine education and advocacy.

We want to do more work like this in 2015, but we need your help! Donate now (and write it off on your 2015 taxes). 

For more information about TIP’s programs and events, check out our website:

Holiday Survival Guide: How to Talk about Vaccines with Vaccine-Hesitant Relatives


No one wants a holiday ruined with a big argument, but if you have a vaccine-hesitant relative, it’s hard to let the comments slide. So, how can you be a vaccine advocate and keep the peace around the table? Follow these steps to engage your vaccine-hesitant relatives and still make it to dessert in one piece.

Set realistic goals
It’s important to know just how vaccine hesitant your relatives are. Is your cousin just having a few doubts? Or is your aunt dead-set on keeping her kids unvaccinated? Knowing where your relatives stand will help you keep your goals realistic. You might not be able to reverse someone’s opinion in one night; understanding that will save everyone some headaches. If someone’s mind is not going to change, the goal should be to keep the door open for future discussions.

Have a discussion, not an argument
And the word discussion is key. Attacking your brother for his opinion doesn’t make for a pleasant holiday or effective vaccine advocacy. Asking open-ended questions (that will guide them towards a pro-vaccine standpoint) will make your relatives feel respected and appreciated—and ultimately more receptive to your message.

Be armed with relevant, high-quality information
Try to find out what your relatives’ vaccine concerns are beforehand. That way, you can prepare information that is targeted towards their worries. Is there a specific vaccine they have issues with? Research its safety, efficacy, and side effects. Is there a certain vaccine myth they find especially compelling? Understand where the misconception comes from and what the truth of the matter is. If you address their specific concerns, they will know that they’re being listened to; that way everyone’s less likely to lose their temper.

Be armed with emotionally compelling stories
Consider telling the story of Megan, a young mother, who took her baby to the pediatrician—where the infant caught measles in the waiting room. A routine doctors visit (to protect her child’s health) turned into a painful battle with a preventable disease. This is an emotional issue for many, and stories like Megan’s can be just as helpful as accurate science in convincing vaccine hesitant individuals. In addition to reliable info, ShotByShot.Org has a number of personal stories that show how real people are affected by vaccine-preventable diseases.

Keep your cool
These conversations can be frustrating. You might not be able to convince your relatives of much, and it can be hard not to get angry when that happens. But blowing up at your relatives will not only make for a tense celebration, it can also leave them even more entrenched in their position than they were before. Showing that you know what you’re talking about, can have a calm discussion, and share some cranberry sauce with them? That might get you somewhere.

Have you had these conversations with your friends and family? What strategies, studies, or stories have you found the most helpful? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Read more about vaccine myths and advocacy:

Protect Those Who Can’t Get Vaccinated: A Holiday-Season Guide

Skipping the Flu Shot? We Bust the Top Excuses

Separating Fact From Fiction: 4 Signs an Immunization Site Is Spreading Misinformation

8 Excuses for Skipping the HPV Vaccine: Debunked

Protect Those Who Can’t Get Vaccinated: A Holiday Season Guide


ChristmasThe holidays are coming up, and that means reconnecting with family and friends—and meeting new family members (newborns anyone?). Some of those loved ones might not be eligible for the Center for Disease Control’s full vaccination schedule: infants, pregnant women, and immunocompromised individuals are all encouraged to refrain from certain vaccinations. The same is true for individuals allergic to ingredients found in certain vaccinations.

If you can receive vaccinations, it’s vital you’re up to date on the CDC’s full schedule this holidays season. Missed all or most of your immunizations? Check out our guide to catching up. Just want to double check? Talk to a healthcare professional‚start by asking about these five shots.

Flu Shot
The CDC recommends everyone six months or older get a flu shot, and that’s never more important than during the holidays. Infants, pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals are all at a greater risk for severe complications from the flu. Yes, those are the same groups that are likely to be ineligible for certain vaccines—be sure to get your shot before the turkey’s carved.

This vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough), and the CDC recommends it for everyone. Even if you were vaccinated as a child, you should receive at least one dose of Tdap after age 18 for pertussis, and then a tetanus booster every 10 years. Whooping cough can be fatal to infants, so make sure you’re protected before meeting your cousin’s new bundle of joy. You need to get Tdap even if you got whooping cough or the whooping cough vaccine as a child, because your immunity dwindles over time.

Grandma and grandpa, this one’s for you. The elderly and infants are the most vulnerable to Pneumococcal disease, which can lead to ear infections, pneumonia and meningitis. Your new granddaughter might not be able to get the shot yet, but you can; the CDC recommends the immunization for anyone 65 or older.

This is another disease that the elderly is at risk for. Shingles starts with a painful rash, often on the face or torso. The rash forms blisters that take weeks to fully clear up—the pain can stick around for months. Again, it’s the grandparents’ job to make sure everyone is protected.

The holidays aren’t just for family: There’s plenty of time for friends…and more than friends. Human Papilloma Virus is a sexually-transmitted virus that can cause cancers in both men and women. It’s best to get vaccinated at age 11-12, long before you’re even thinking about becoming sexually active, but you can get the vaccine up to age 26. If you’re under 26 and haven’t been vaccinated against HPV, ask your doctor about this vaccine ASAP. 

Separating Fact from Fiction: 4 Signs an Immunization Website Is Spreading Misinformation

As a parent, it’s natural to do your homework before getting your kids up to date on their vaccinations. The problem? With so many websites posting conflicting information, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. Fortunately, it’s easy to decide which sites to trust if you know a few simple tricks. Here are four signs a website is spreading unreliable immunization information. GoogleSearch

1. It Links Vaccines to Autism
Do vaccines cause autism? It’s a common fear among parents, and a common claim on untrustworthy vaccination websites. But study after study has shown that there is simply no truth to this claim. If a website claims there is any link between vaccines and autism, look elsewhere for your facts.

2. It Misinterprets Science
Many untrustworthy vaccination sites do rely on credible, peer-reviewed studies for their information, but then they misinterpret the results to come to inaccurate conclusions. Unfortunately, if you’re not familiar with the study at hand, there’s no quick way to spot this. If something seems fishy (linking vaccines to autism, for example), do a little digging. Google the study and see what other publications have to say about it.

3. It Confuses Correlation and Causationautism_organic_foods
It’s understood in the scientific community that correlation does not imply causation—just because two things happen at the same time doesn’t mean one is causing the other. So while it’s true that vaccination rates and autism rates have risen at the same time, that does not prove that vaccines are causing autism or are linked in any way. There are many reasons for two things to correspond, but causal relationships are demonstrated through long-term and large-scale research and analysis, involving years, large numbers of people and many studies

4. It Offers Anecdotes as Proof
Personal stories of children claimed to be harmed by vaccinations can be powerful, engaging, and compelling. What they are not is scientific. Again, the safety of vaccinations has been shown repeatedly through large-scale controlled scientific studies. Vaccine reactions are monitored and studied very closely, and while it’s possible for severe allergic reactions to occur after vaccination, the odds of them happening are less than 1 in 1 million — so rare that it’s difficult to tell whether the vaccine is actually the cause. Stories of these reactions — while heartbreaking — are not the norm. Be particularly wary of stories with vague symptoms or a laundry-list of complaints claiming to be attributed to vaccination, as there likely is some other causal factors at play.

An easy way to know you are getting correct information? Read our roundups of trustworthy Facebook and Twitter accounts to follow, and start your research there.  

Over 60? Ask Your Doctor About These 4 Vaccines

As you get older, you need to pay closer attention to your health, and vaccinations are a vital part of that. Due to a weakening immune system and new developments in immunization, there are a host of vaccines the elderly should ask about. Talk to a healthcare professional to see what’s right for you. Make sure you ask about these four shots:

This vaccine protects against, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough), and the CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 18 get it at least once, followed by a tetanus-containing vaccine every 10 years. Even if you were vaccinated against whooping cough as a child, your immunity to the disease may have dwindled over time, leaving you unprotected. This vaccine is important because whooping cough can be very dangerous for small children and infants, and it is often transmitted to small kids from adults (ex. doting grandparents) who might not even know they’re infected. If there’s even a chance you’ll be around small kids, you’ll want to be up to date on this one. Note: not all tetanus vaccines contain the pertussis component, so be sure to specifically request the Tdap vaccine.

Flu Shot
The CDC recommends that everyone over 6 months gets an annual flu shot. The virus mutates rapidly, plus the body’s resistance to the virus declines over time; an annual dose is essential. You need to stick to this now more than ever—for those over 65, the flu can result in hospitalization and even death. The flu kills an average of more than 23,000 people in the U.S. every year — most of them older adults — and thousands more are hospitalized. As you get older, your immune system needs a little extra help, so be sure to ask your healthcare provider about receiving a high dose flu vaccine, which has been shown to be more effective in those over 65.  

Due to a weakening immune system the elderly are more vulnerable to Pneumococcal disease. It’s an infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria and can result in several serious illnesses and conditions, including pneumonia and meningitis. Because it can lead to severe complications, and sometimes death, it’s nothing to take lightly. The vaccine is recommended for those 65 and older.

Shingles (Zoster)
Shingles starts with a painful rash, often on the face or torso. The rash forms blisters that take weeks to fully clear up, and the pain can stick around for months. The risk of shingles increases as you get older, so the CDC recommends everyone 60 or older gets immunized against this nasty disease.

8 Excuses for Skipping the HPV Vaccine—Debunked

The vaccine for the Human Papilloma (HPV) Virus is one of the most important—and perhaps most misunderstood—immunizations we have. The Center for Disease Control recommends that all adolescents get this vaccine at ages 11 to 12, but adherence rates are alarmingly low: infographics - statistics-hpvOnly 60 percent of girls and 42 percent of boys have received the first of three necessary doses by age 17.  Several misconceptions keep the rate so low; here are five excuses to skip the vaccine, and why they’re bunk.  

I’m Worried About the Safety and Side Effects of the Vaccine
As with any medical intervention, side effects are a possibility with the HPV vaccine, but studies have shown this vaccine is very, very safe. Side effects are almost always mild, and the most common side effects are minor symptoms like a sore arm. Despite what you might see on social media, no serious reactions have been scientifically linked to the vaccine. The HPV vaccine has been shown to be just as safe as other vaccines given during adolescence.

HPV Isn’t a Big Deal
While most cases do clear up on their own, some cases develop into cancer. The kicker: there’s no way to predict which cases will lead to cancer and which won’t. That’s why every case of HPV is a big deal.

My Doctor Didn’t Mention It, So It Can’t Be That Important
Unfortunately, many doctor’s aren’t recommending the HPV vaccine in a timely fashion—26 percent of them do not recommend it for girls by 11 or 12, and 39 percent don’t mention it to boys of the same age. A lot of docs say this is because they expect discussing the vaccine with parents to be uncomfortable (because it protects from an STD and is administered to preteens). Uncomfortable or not, it’s vital for you to get the shots; bring it up yourself if your doctor hasn’t already.

I’m a Guy
While most people have probably heard HPV can cause cervical cancer, it can also cause a number of cancers in men, including anal, penile and head and neck cancers. And while pap tests can help screen for early signs of cervical cancer, there is no screening options available for HPV-related cancers in men. That’s why vaccination is so critical. 

I’m Too Old
The CDC does recommend that everyone get their doses at 11 or 12—it’s most effective when administered well before sexual activity begins. But the shots are still recommended for young people who missed this window (up through age 21 for men and 26 for women). And if you are in a high-risk group (if you have multiple partners, or you’re a man who has sex with men), the shots are recommended through age 26.

I’m Not Sexually Active
HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, but the vaccine is actually most effective when administered before someone is sexually active. That’s one of the reasons it’s recommended in early adolescence.  Rather than waiting until you’re sexually active, get it now. When you do become sexually active (including engaging in oral sex), you know you’ll be fully protected.

I’m Not in a High-Risk Category
It’s true, men who have sex with men and those with multiple partners have a greater risk of contracting HPV than the general population. But all it takes to expose yourself is sleeping with one infected person. In fact, the CDC estimates that about one in four people in the U.S. are currently infected and nearly all sexually active adults will get HPV at some point in their lives—it’s an incredibly common virus, and everyone needs to be protected.

I Use Condoms
As with any STD, condoms are an important HPV prevention tool, but they don’t offer full protection. While the virus can’t be spread through latex, it can infect portions of the genitals that condoms don’t cover. Safe sex is not enough to protect yourself from HPV.