Immunization against preventable diseases is one the most important things that parents should do in order to protect their children.
The benefits of vaccines outweigh the possible side effects, so missing out on your child's immunization for any reason, should not be an option.
However, the list of vaccinations is big, so it could be hard to remember all the details related to your child's vaccination schedule, especially because the immunization schedule for children changes every year. And not only for children; adults also need immunization.
Remembering what vaccine a child or adult needs at a particular age, could be a daunting task not only for parents but for providers as well.
There are many types of vaccines, with specific dosing regimens, based on age and health-specific factors, catch-up schedules, disease adjustments and updates, and much more that could be overwhelming to remember without some sort of help.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the leading national public health institute and the authority in protecting public health and safety through the control and prevention of disease, injury, and disability, including immunization.
We already reviewed their CDC Vaccine Schedules app that brings their official immunization schedule and recommendations to the mobile devices.
Many other vaccine apps use CDC guidelines and schedules as a starting point. We mentioned some of these apps in our article about best mobile apps to help physicians and patients track and schedule vaccines and immunization.
The app we review today called Shots Immunizations is also based on CDC immunizations schedules among other resources.
Developed by Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM), Shots Immunizations app provides vaccine schedules, accompanied by additional information, as well as graphics and images. The app was reviewed by experts from the CDC.
The app is available for free for Android and iOS devices. Upon opening, it would start downloading content updates. This could be disabled in Settings to avoid unnecessary costs (if you use mobile data instead of WiFi). However, once downloaded all content can be accessed offline.
The homepage is divided into three sections, including Schedules, Combinations Schedules, and Additional Information.
Each of these sections contains several topics. For example, Schedules (as its name suggests) provide vaccine schedules based on patient's age, such as Child/Adolescent (Birth-18 year), Catch-up schedules, Child and Adult indications, and Adult schedules and indications.
Combination Schedules contain information about combination vaccines, while Additional Information section provides more information about smallpox, Comvax vaccine, resident education, references, and about the app.
Of course, the most important part of the app is immunization schedules section. The schedules are provided in a form of a colorful chart with vaccines columns and age rows. The charts are easy to navigate by sliding the screen right and left.
The app covers all vaccines required for a particular age, including HepB and HepA, rotavirus, DTaP, MMR, flu vaccine and more.
Important up-to-date information is provided for each of these vaccines. Simply tap on a vaccine in a chart and learn basics, high-risk indications, dosing schedule, administration, adverse reactions, contraindications, catch-up schedules, brand names, additives, and more.
Although there is Pictures section for each vaccine, which apparently should show photos of patients afflicted with each disease, the images don't display on my iPhone. I haven't tested if images are showing on Android, but I hope this would be fixed in forthcoming updates.
There are also notes in charts that can be opened, providing additional explanations for administering particular vaccines.
All information is well-referenced and based on current CDC immunization schedules, as well as other resources, including ACIP, VAERS, etc.
The information in the app is regularly updated, with its most recent update in February 2017.
The Shots Immunizations app lets users choose colorblind-safe colors when viewing the color-coded immunization charts. The immunization schedules within the app are easy to view, however, the larger screen you have the better.
Besides the bug with displaying multimedia, the Shots Immunizations app has another minor drawback, and that's slow loading times and occasional unresponsiveness.
I'm sure that this issue won't prevent healthcare professionals from using the app to review immunization schedules and vaccine information, but it would be better if they could do it quickly and conveniently at the point of care.
Overall, the Shots Immunizations is a must-have app for all providers who need a comprehensive and up-to-date immunization reference in their pocket.
Parents can also find this app useful when discussing important questions regarding the vaccines and immunization schedule with their providers.
Benefit: A great reference for all healthcare providers who need a quick vaccine reference to help them answer complex immunization questions