Immunizations have been the major contributor to the reduction in infectious disease morbidity and mortality over the past century. However, not everyone who could benefit from vaccines receives immunizations on schedule, for reasons such as lack of awareness of immunization recommendations, missed opportunities for vaccination, increased complexity of the immunization schedule, concern about vaccine safety, cost of immunization services, and disruptions in vaccine supply.
To aid the CDC’s National Immunization Program in its efforts to achieve immunization goals for the nation, timely information regarding the attitudes and practices of health care providers, payers, public health officials, and parents/patients is essential. Such information allows the CDC to monitor recent and ongoing situations, and to plan and create effective programs tailored to these constituencies.
Variation in Immunization Practices (VIP) is a collaborative project between the CDC’s National Immunization Program and the University of Michigan’s Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit. The VIP project team conducts four studies per year in accordance with the specific needs of the CDC’s National Immunization Program. Using both qualitative and quantitative methods, the VIP research team conducts studies in a time frame to allow the results to be directly applicable to current and future CDC efforts in child and adult immunization. Sudies focus on agreement and adoption of new immunization recommendations; issues related to vaccine supply; insurance coverage for childhood and adult vaccines; and the impact of changes in vaccine financing on physician and patient behavior; and provider and patient assessment of CDC educational materials. Study findings are presented as written reports to CDC officials, with additional presentation of findings to workgroups or other agencies as desired by the project’s CDC technical advisors.