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posted on April 18, 2012 10:47


Tom Shanahan

Public Information Officer

(208) 334-0668                                                                                                                                           April 18, 2012


Two National Experts Highlight Idaho’s Immunization Conferences

Two national experts on children’s immunizations are available for media interviews at Idaho Falls, Boise and Coeur d’Alene next week as part of the state’s annual Shots Smarts immunization conferences.  Dr. Melinda Wharton from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a pediatrician who writes the ‘Seattle Mama Doc’ blog, are keynote speakers for the immunization conferences.

The two guest speakers will help celebrate the critical role vaccination plays in protecting our children and communities during National Infant Immunization Week. Next week also is the first global immunization observance – World Immunization Week – an initiative of the World Health Organization.

Shots Smarts is a series of statewide conferences for healthcare professionals, school personnel and childcare workers to provide them with the latest vaccination information and resources. All three Idaho Shot Smarts conferences have reached capacity, with registration for each now closed.

The conferences will be held from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at each location listed below. If you would like to schedule an interview with Dr. Wharton or Dr. Swanson, please contact Idaho Immunization program specialist Andy Noble at (208)891-8460 before 9 a.m. the morning of the event.

Idaho Falls                      April 24, 2012       Shilo Inn

Boise                               April 25, 2012       Boise State University

Coeur d’Alene                 April 27, 2012       Coeur d’Alene Inn

The Shot Smarts conferences are very important because Idaho’s immunization rates are among the lowest in the country.  Immunizations protect children from life-threatening diseases that can cause permanent health problems, such as brain and heart damage, blindness and even death. Most of the diseases we vaccinate against are very rare in this country due to the success of immunizations. Boosting Idaho’s immunization rate is a top priority of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

Bio Info:

Dr. Wharton is the Director for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.  Dr. Wharton has authored or co-authored more than 80 scientific journal articles, book chapters, and CDC publications.

Dr. Swanson is a general pediatrician interested in the intersection of media and medicine and its impact on the physician-patient relationship. She writes ‘Seattle Mama Doc’ for Seattle Children’s Hospital, the first pediatrician-authored blog for a major children's hospital. Dr. Swanson is an official spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).  Dr. Swanson believes physicians have an obligation to share opinions online, speaking nationally on physician use of social media and its role in advocacy. She believes that a growing community of online physicians can empower patients to make informed decisions founded in science. Follow her on Twitter at