Using Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) Correctly

February 2011

Technically Speaking
Monthly Column by Deborah Wexler, MD
Deborah Wexler MD
Technically Speaking is a monthly column written by IAC’s Executive Director Deborah Wexler, MD. The column is featured in The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Center’s (VEC’s) monthly e-newsletter for healthcare professionals. Technically Speaking columns cover practical topics in immunization delivery such as needle length, vaccine administration, cold chain, and immunization schedules.
Check out a recent issue of Vaccine Update for Healthcare Providers. The VEC e-newsletter keeps providers up to date on vaccine-related issues and includes reviews of recently published journal articles, media recaps, announcements about new resources, and a regularly updated calendar of events.
Using Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) Correctly
Published February 2011
Information presented in this article may have changed since the original publication date. For the most current immunization recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, visit
CDC’s Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) provide a standardized way to present basic information about vaccine benefits and possible adverse events to patients. Before a healthcare provider vaccinates a child or an adult with a dose of any vaccine containing diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, Hib, influenza, pneumococcal conjugate, meningococcal, rotavirus, human papillomavirus, or varicella vaccine, the provider is required by the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act to provide a copy of the VIS to the parent/legal representative of the child who is receiving the vaccine or to the adult vaccine recipient.
The VIS must be provided before the vaccine is administered and must be offered before every dose of the vaccine. It is acceptable to have the patient read the VIS on an office computer or in a more permanent (e.g., laminated) format during the office visit, but the patient must also be offered a paper copy of the VIS to take home.
Federal law requires not only that the clinician provide a VIS to the patient, but also that the date the VIS is given to the patient and the VIS publication date are recorded in the patient’s chart. It is important to use the most recent version of a VIS.
The website of the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) has the following resources related to VISs, all of which are available at
VISs in English and more than 35 additional languages
A table of current VIS dates
Information from CDC on the proper use of VISs
VISs in alternative formats (e.g., audio, web-video)
The release of new and revised VISs, as well as the availability of new VIS translations, is announced in IAC’s free weekly e-mail news service, IAC Express. To subscribe, visit


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