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
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
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
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
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
For more information: