Vaccines: There Is an App for That

MAY 27, 2019
Anyssa Garza, PharmD, BCMAS
Nowadays, everything seems to have an app tied to it, and vaccinations are no different. Below are descriptions of 8 apps on the digital market to help health care professionals manage vaccines and gather patient information.1

1. The Vaccine Handbook App2 SPONSORED BY THE PEDIATRIC INFECTIOUS DISEASES SOCIETY THROUGH AN UNRESTRICTED EDUCATIONAL GRANT FROM SANOFI PASTEUR US Platform: iOS Price: Free Included in the app: • Access to additional resources • Basic vaccinology and infrastructure section • The complete The Vaccine Handbook: A Practical Guide for Clinicians 7th edition text (known as the Purple Book) by Gary S. Marshall, MD • Hard copy available for purchase via app • Search function feature • Ways to address concerns of parents and patients (eg, motivational interviewing) • Immunization schedules in table form • Tables and figures for easy reference • Vaccine practice feature • Business aspects of vaccine practice, such as billing, coding, and costs • Emergency situations, such as anaphylaxis and syncope • Handling, storage, and transport The interface is easy to navigate and offers an abundant amount of information. However, the app does not allow users to save a figure or a table as a favorite for later reference. Also, users must sign up for an account and provide information about their city of residence, profession, and title.

2. Shots Immunizations3,4 CREATED BY THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF FAMILY PHYSICIANS AND THE SOCIETY OF TEACHERS OF FAMILY MEDICINE Platform: Android and iOS Price: Free Included in the app: • A feature to input patient details, such as age, certain circumstances, and conditions, and receive a list of recommended vaccinations • The current version of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)/CDC vaccine schedules in table form • Up-to-date information on vaccines, including additives and excipients, adverse reactions, contraindications, high-risk indications, resident education, and risk communication pearls This app’s interface is easy to navigate, and the patient profile tool makes determining which vaccines a patient needs simple. Users should note that the underlying conditions are those typically included with the vaccines schedules, with the addition of smoking status. The special circumstances feature health care worker, intravenous drug use, living situation (eg, in a dormitory or homeless), and military personnel.

3. CDC Vaccine Schedules5,6 CREATED BY THE CDC Platform: Android and iOS Price: Free Included in the app: • Recommended vaccine schedules by the ACIP for infants, children, adolescents, and adults, including the catch-up schedule, in table form • Vaccine contraindications and precautions The app offers resources such as a guide to vaccine conversations with patients and information on vaccine delays and shortages. All the listed resources are linked to articles on the CDC’s website.

4. PneumoRecs VaxAdvisor7,8 CREATED BY THE CDC IN COLLABORATION WITH THE GEORGIA TECH RESEARCH INSTITUTE Platform: Android and iOS Price: Free PneumoRecs VaxAdvisor7 easily and quickly determines which pneumococcal vaccines a patient needs and when they should be administered. Enter the patient’s birth date, indicate the patient’s pneumococcal vaccination history, and select any risk factors, such as chronic health conditions, cochlear implants/cerebrospinal leaks, and immunocompromising conditions. The tool then provides patient-specific pneumococcal vaccination recommendations in accordance with ACIP guidelines.

5. ReadyVax9,10 CREATED BY EMORY UNIVERSITY Platform: iOS Price: Free Included in the app: • Alert information, though this has not been updated since January 2017 • Frequently asked questions and answers • Vaccine information and recommended vaccination schedule Because this app can be used by health care providers and patients, users must indicate whether they are a parent, a patient, a pharmacist, a provider, or a public health professional. ReadyVax offers the recommended schedule in text form for each vaccine selection. The adverse event feature links to Vaccine Causality Algorithm, created by the Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment Network. The full manuscript was published in the journal Vaccine in 2012.

6. AAP Red Book11,12 CREATED BY THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS (AAP) Platform: Android and iOS Price: Free to AAP members, Pediatric Care Online subscribers, and Red Book Online subscribers; includes in-app purchases Included in the app: • The 30th edition (2015) of Red Book • Information for the diagnosis, treatment, and management of more than 200 infectious diseases, including immunization information and updates

7. ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)13 CREATED BY ACOG Platform: Android and iOS Price: Free Clinicians can use the app’s interactive tool to review immunization best practices during pregnancy.

8. CDC Yellow Book14 CREATED BY THE CDC Platform: Android and iOS Price: Free, with in-app purchases, though it costs $29.99 to access the fully updated CDC Yellow Book Included in the app: • Charts, maps, and tables • Health advice specific to travel destinations and potential conditions • The latest information on the Ebola and Zika viruses • Pretravel vaccine recommendations • Travel health guidelines The CDC Yellow Book is ideal for counseling patients who will be traveling internationally.
 
Anyssa Garza, PharmD, BCMAS, is the vice president of content and patient education programs at Digital Pharmacist in Austin, Texas, and an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy.

References
  1. Immunization Action Coalition. Immunization apps for healthcare providers and their patients. Immunize.org website. immunize.org/resources/apps.asp. Updated February 11, 2019. Accessed February 18, 2019.
  2. Apple. The Vaccine Handbook App. iTunes website. itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-vaccine-handbook-app/id1043246009?ls=1&mt=8. Accessed February 18, 2019.
  3. Shots by AAFP/STFM. Society of Teachers of Family Medicine website. www.stfm.org/Resources/Shots. Accessed February 18, 2019.
  4. Apple. Shots immunizations. iTunes website. itunes.apple.com/us/app/shots-immunizations/id958783646. Accessed February 18, 2019.
  5. CDC. CDC vaccine schedules app for health care providers. cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/schedule-app.html. Updated February 5, 2019. Accessed February 18, 2019.
  6. Apple. CDC vaccine schedules. iTunes website. itunes.apple.com/us/app/cdc-vaccine-schedules/id875273858?mt=8. Accessed February 18, 2019.
  7. CDC. PneumoRecs VaxAdvisor Mobile App for Vaccine Providers. cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/pneumo/hcp/pneumoapp.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fvaccines%2Fpneumoapp%2Findex.html. Updated February 13, 2019. Accessed February 18, 2019.
  8. Apple. PneumoRecs VaxAdvisor. iTunes website. itunes.apple.com/us/app/pneumorecs-vaxadvisor/id1440647099?mt=8. Accessed February 18, 2019.
  9. Apple. ReadyVax. iTunes website. itunes.apple.com/US/app/id957851259?mt=8. Accessed February 18, 2019.
  10. ReadyVax. App advice website. appadvice.com/app/readyvax/957851259. Accessed February 18, 2019.
  11. American Academy of Pediatrics. Red Book Online. Red Book website.  redbook.solutions.aap.org/redbook.aspx. Accessed February 20, 2019.
  12. Apple. AAP Red Book. iTunes website. itunes.apple.com/us/app/aap-red-book/id540698874?mt=8. Accessed February 20, 2019.
  13. Download the ACOG app. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.  website. acog.org/About-ACOG/News-Room/ACOG-App. Accessed February 20, 2019.
  14. CDC. Explore travel health with the CDC Yellow Book. wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/yellowbook-home. Updated July 31, 2017. Accessed February 20, 2019.


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