Welcome to the State of California 

Vaccine Safety

Vaccine safety is an important issue. While scientific evidence supports vaccine safety and effectiveness, vaccines or vaccine preservatives sometimes become hot button topics. The best way to understand vaccine safety and effectiveness is to access reliable evidence-based information. The following resources can help you in learning the facts.

What Is California Doing about Vaccine Safety?

Immunizations are our most powerful weapon against serious infectious diseases. Vaccines used in the United States are extremely safe, thanks to careful licensing procedures; advances in medical research; and ongoing review by doctors, researchers, and public health officials.

With more than half a million babies born every year in California, health officials here place the highest priority on the effectiveness and safety of immunizations. Here are some of the ways the Department of Public Health (CDPH) provides leadership to ensure that California children are protected and that the immunizations they receive are safe and effective.

  • Professional training. CDPH provides information and training for health care providers on injection techniques, vaccine handling and storage, record keeping, informing families about risks and benefits, and reporting of reactions after immunization if they occur. State and local health departments provide consultation, standards of practice guidelines, and training.

    • VFC Provider technical assistance letters. CDPH Immunization Branch and its Vaccines for Children (VFC) program regularly alert California physicians about vaccine updates, guidelines, educational resources, administration, and storage and handling information. Providers also receive information about reporting requirements for the National Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.

    • Immunization registry support. CDPH promotes the California Immunization Registry (CAIR), a statewide system of regional immunization registries. California’s registries help providers track immunizations by child and manufacturer’s vaccine lot number. If a vaccine is recalled, registries rapidly identify which children got which vaccines.

    • Expert collaboration. California participates in national-level meetings dealing with vaccine safety, including Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meetings. CDPH meets regularly with vaccine experts as well as leaders of the California chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the California Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP).

  • Vaccine Information Statements (VIS) access. CDPH ensures that California health care providers have access to VISs in 18 different languages.

    • Kindergarten and school assessments. Each year, CDPH tracks school and child care exemptions from immunization requirements to determine if parent concerns are affecting immunization rates. Access that data at ShotsforSchool.org.

Precautions and Contraindications

Contraindications to Vaccines Chart (CDC)
A chart describing when it is safe to receive a vaccine and which signs to look for afterwards. General vaccine information as well as information on 11 specific vaccines, with many links; 2 pages.

Additional Resources

Vaccine Safety Education Materials for Parents

General Vaccine Safety Concerns (The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)

Vaccine Safety (American Academy of Pediatrics) (PDF)New Window

Thimerosal in Seasonal Influenza Vaccine (CDC)

Vaccine Ingredients (The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)

Vaccine Safety Educational Website (CIC)
The “Why I Choose” campaign serves as a resource for anyone concerned with vaccine safety and showcases immunization champions.

Video FAQs
A series of videos with experts addressing common questions and concerns about vaccines and vaccine safety from Every Child By Two. (Requires Flash Player)

Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)
VAERS is a post-marketing safety surveillance program, collecting information about adverse events (possible side effects) that occur after the administration of US licensed vaccines.

Vaccine Errors Reporting Program (VERP)
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) accepts vaccine error reports through their National Vaccine Errors Report Program. Reports are shared in confidence to VAERS and, when applicable, product vendors.

National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
The VICP is a no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system for resolving vaccine injury claims that provides compensation to people found to be injured by certain vaccines.

Vaccine Safety Resources from the California Immunization Coalition
Articles and other resources for parents.

Vaccines—Calling the Shots
A PBS documentary that examines the science behind vaccinations, the return of preventable diseases, parents concerns with vaccines, and the risks of opting out.

Last modified on: 10/12/2016 3:59 PM