Meeting News Coverage

Using complex technology to spread simple message works for one vaccine advocacy group

A ‘Shot of Prevention’ has become a blogging success story.

WASHINGTON — The Internet has become a resource for parents looking for health information, especially vaccines. But the information they discover online is not all accurate and can be confusing. A new blog from a pro-vaccine organization is reaching record numbers of parents and sharing a positive vaccine message, according to information presented during the 45th Annual National Information Conference this week.

According to Amy Pisani, executive director of Every Child By Two, the vaccine community concurred that there was a need for a space on the Internet where parents, health professionals and advocates could have access to, and share, evidence-based information about vaccines. Therefore, in October 2009, Every Child By Two created www.vaccinateyourbaby.org, the www.shotofprevention.com blog and the “Vaccinate Your Baby” Facebook page to serve this purpose.

Christine Vara,leading contributor to the “Shot of Prevention” blog, said during a presentation that the goal of the blog was to engage parents and that she realized quickly they needed to listen to what parents were saying through social media monitoring.

“Our question was, ‘If we build it, will them come? And when?’ We found out that the short answer is ‘yes.’ But the efforts you make will determine who will come and when,” Vara said, adding that the blog follows a journey to find information about vaccines and asks questions that parents might ask.

Internet usage statistics reveal that nearly 74% of Americans are online and an estimated 75% to 80% of users search for health information on the Internet; 70% of users report that the information they encounter online influences their disease treatment decisions, according to Vara.

The blog has proved to be a successful means to distribute accurate and positive information about vaccines on the Internet, she said. They also work with other groups to highlight other immunization efforts.

“We are all in this together, and we need to work together,” Vara said.

Through posting links to the blog on the Twitter feed and Facebook page set up by Every Child By Two, the organization has steadily expanded the blog readership and involved many people in the vaccine conversation.

Through Facebook advertising and various cross-promotion efforts, Every Child By Two has experienced a Facebook growth of more than 300% since 2009, with approximately 6,000 followers at last count. Conversations that start on the blog page often spill into Facebook and vice versa, according to Vara, who said a recent blog post received 4,900 views and nearly 500 comments.

Vara is a well-educated mother of five children and has a background in marketing. The blog chronicles her attempt to better understand vaccines, and her writing style makes the topics approachable and easy to understand.

The blog does not give medical advice, but it links to accurate and reliable medical information, and often features guest posts from health care professionals and prominent vaccine advocates, including Stanley Plotkin, MD, and Infectious Diseases in Children Editorial Board member Paul A. Offit, MD.

Disclosure: Pisani and Vara report no relevant financial disclosures.

For more information:

Twitter Follow the PediatricSuperSite.com on Twitter.

WASHINGTON — The Internet has become a resource for parents looking for health information, especially vaccines. But the information they discover online is not all accurate and can be confusing. A new blog from a pro-vaccine organization is reaching record numbers of parents and sharing a positive vaccine message, according to information presented during the 45th Annual National Information Conference this week.

According to Amy Pisani, executive director of Every Child By Two, the vaccine community concurred that there was a need for a space on the Internet where parents, health professionals and advocates could have access to, and share, evidence-based information about vaccines. Therefore, in October 2009, Every Child By Two created www.vaccinateyourbaby.org, the www.shotofprevention.com blog and the “Vaccinate Your Baby” Facebook page to serve this purpose.

Christine Vara,leading contributor to the “Shot of Prevention” blog, said during a presentation that the goal of the blog was to engage parents and that she realized quickly they needed to listen to what parents were saying through social media monitoring.

“Our question was, ‘If we build it, will them come? And when?’ We found out that the short answer is ‘yes.’ But the efforts you make will determine who will come and when,” Vara said, adding that the blog follows a journey to find information about vaccines and asks questions that parents might ask.

Internet usage statistics reveal that nearly 74% of Americans are online and an estimated 75% to 80% of users search for health information on the Internet; 70% of users report that the information they encounter online influences their disease treatment decisions, according to Vara.

The blog has proved to be a successful means to distribute accurate and positive information about vaccines on the Internet, she said. They also work with other groups to highlight other immunization efforts.

“We are all in this together, and we need to work together,” Vara said.

Through posting links to the blog on the Twitter feed and Facebook page set up by Every Child By Two, the organization has steadily expanded the blog readership and involved many people in the vaccine conversation.

Through Facebook advertising and various cross-promotion efforts, Every Child By Two has experienced a Facebook growth of more than 300% since 2009, with approximately 6,000 followers at last count. Conversations that start on the blog page often spill into Facebook and vice versa, according to Vara, who said a recent blog post received 4,900 views and nearly 500 comments.

Vara is a well-educated mother of five children and has a background in marketing. The blog chronicles her attempt to better understand vaccines, and her writing style makes the topics approachable and easy to understand.

The blog does not give medical advice, but it links to accurate and reliable medical information, and often features guest posts from health care professionals and prominent vaccine advocates, including Stanley Plotkin, MD, and Infectious Diseases in Children Editorial Board member Paul A. Offit, MD.

Disclosure: Pisani and Vara report no relevant financial disclosures.

For more information:

Twitter Follow the PediatricSuperSite.com on Twitter.

    See more from 2011 Annual National Immunization Conference