The Great Vaccine Debate

The great vaccine debate is never ending.  People are getting out there and sharing their views.  Jimmy Kimmel had a very entertaining and poignant skit about the importance of vaccines presented by “real physicians”.  It was funny and crass, but it had a very clear message about giving children their recommended vaccines on time.

Dr. Seuss participated in a vaccine campaign back in 1997.  Which further illustrates the longevity of this debate.  In one of the posters created to promote vaccinations you can find the quote:  “The bird says wake up, we’re proud of you young fella.  You just received your first shot against Measles, Mumps, and Rubella.”

Yesterday, the Journal of Pediatrics released a study about the alternate vaccine schedule that many physicians feel they need to agree to in the name of patient centered care.  In the study, it confirmed something I already know, parents go into their child’s doctor’s office requesting alternative vaccines.  Pediatricians do their best to educate families about the importance of the recommended schedule without making changes.  These skilled physicians do their best to educate families without sounding judgmental or condescending.

Conversations about alternate vaccine schedules take a lot of time and can be frustrating.  (I know because I have participated in many of these discussions.)  Claire McCarthy, M.D. said this:
“Now, it’s important to point out that most families don’t ask for this. Most families are fine with the current vaccine schedule — as they should be, since it has been carefully studied and is felt to be safe. We give so many vaccines to babies because they are the ones who are most likely to get very sick from vaccine-preventable diseases. Not only do we think they can handle it, we think it’s the best thing for their health and safety.”

I often tell my patients that I gave my own children vaccines based on the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines and most physicians do as well.  Would we compromise the health of our own children?  No.  We all want what is best for our children.  But we don’t always know where to find trustworthy information to guide us.

I still remember vividly the first set of vaccines that my oldest child received.  It caused him to have a high fever and sore legs for a few days.  But he didn’t get Pertussis.  He did not develop serious complications from dehydration caused by Rotovirus.  He was uncomfortable for a few days and remained disease free.  And I have my pediatrician to thank.

If you have questions about vaccines, look at information from the American Academy of Pediatrics or the Centers for Disease Control.  Talk with your pediatrician.  And please, get your child vaccinated based on the well researched and clinically proven vaccine schedule.

Here is another article to read.

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Joyeux Parenting

I am the proud mother of two beautiful children and have lived in Boston for most of my life. I have over twenty years of experience as a Child Development Specialist working with new families, pediatricians at Mass General Hospital, and Early Intervention. I have a wealth of knowledge and expertise regarding the challenges related to breastfeeding, behavior management, picky eaters, discipline, sleep, and development. I love being a wife and mother and sharing my experiences-the good, the bad, and the ugly. I am constantly learning about new evidence based information as it relates to parenting. Most importantly, I think it is crucial to recognize that we all make mistakes and learn from them. I am a firm believer that humor is essential as you navigate the world. Parenting should be full of joy and that is why I started my business Joyeux Parenting. Thank you for allowing me to share my experiences with you.

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