CDC Vaccine Information Statements

An infant getting a vaccine
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The CDC produces Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) to inform "vaccine recipients — or their parents or legal representatives — about the benefits and risks of a vaccine they are receiving."

They are the vaccine information materials that the National Vaccine Childhood Injury Act requires vaccine providers give out before children get their vaccines.

Published since 1993, "because they cover both benefits and risks associated with vaccinations, they provide enough information that anyone reading them should be adequately informed" about the vaccines they are getting.

Today, VISs are available in about 40 languages and in multiple formats, so that they can be viewed on a computer, smartphone, or as a paper copy.

Vaccine Information Statements vs Package Inserts

While the VIS is a concise description of the risks and benefits of a vaccine in an easy to read format, a vaccine's package insert is very different.

Chief among the differences in how they list adverse events.

According to the CDC, "package inserts generally tend to include all adverse events that were temporally associated with a vaccine during clinical trials."

In contrast, the VIS is based on ACIP recommendations, which tend to only recognize adverse events that are believed to be causally linked to the vaccine.

Vaccines and Vaccine Information Statements

Vaccine information statements are available for:

  • Adenovirus (Military Use Only)
  • Anthrax
  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis-containing vaccines (DTaP, DT, Td, and Tdap)
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Influenza (both Inactivated and Live, Intranasal vaccines)
  • Japanese Encephalitis (Ixiaro)
  • Meningococcal
  • MMR
  • MMRV
  • Pneumococcal Conjugate (PCV13)
  • Pneumococcal Polysaccharide
  • Polio
  • Rabies
  • Rotavirus
  • Shingles
  • Typhoid
  • Varicella
  • Yellow Fever

There is also a Multi-Vaccine version of the VIS that includes the DTaP, hepatitis B, Hib, PCV13, and polio vaccines.

The most current version of a VIS should always be given to parents before their child gets a vaccine.

Vaccine Information Statements

Vaccine Information Statements help pediatricians and other caregivers inform parents about the risks and benefits of vaccines. To make the most of this information, be sure to read each VIS before your visit.

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Article Sources

  • St-Amour M, et al. Are vaccination information leaflets useful for vaccinators and parents? Vaccine. 2006;24(14):2491–6
  • Vaccine Information Statement: Facts About VISs - Vaccines - CDC. 
  • Vannice KS. Attitudes and beliefs of parents concerned about vaccines: impact of timing of immunization information. Pediatrics. 2011 May;127 Suppl 1: S120-6