Largely as a result of parental pressure, doctors and hospitals in America must provide the parents of children eligible for vaccination with information pamphlets containing detailed information about the procedure, including its risks.
The three pamphlets, each covering one of the vaccinations given (DPT, MMR and polio), to include information about reactions which should be brought to the immediate attention of the health care provider, early warning signs to which legal representatives should be alert as possible precursors to major adverse reactions, the method of reporting these side effects and the availability of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
The Program, set up by the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, provides a pool of money for victims who can be shown to have been injured by one of the seven vaccines, which are mandated by American law.
In writing the pamphlets, The Centres for Disease Control consulted with parent groups like Dissatisfied Parents Together (DPT) and Determined Parents to Stop Hurting Our Tots (DPT SHOT), both pressure groups composed of parents of children injured by the DPT vaccine.
Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder of DPT, and co-author (with Harris Coulter) of A Shot in the Dark, said the pamphlets, which each run to several thousands words apiece, represent the end of "a long struggle to see that parents get the information they need."
This satisfaction was not shared by many doctors, who believe the brochures are excessively detailed and may deter many parents from having their children vaccinated.