Close Encounters w/ the Vaccine Schedule

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Registered: 06-16-2009
Close Encounters w/ the Vaccine Schedule
Sat, 01-23-2010 - 1:18am
Scene: A pediatrician’s office. Behind the desk is the doctor, a pleasant, middle-aged woman in a white coat. Seated in front of the desk are the expectant parents, prosperous, educated, self-confident, and, in the case of the woman, exceedingly pregnant.

Doctor: So, what questions did you have for me today?

Mother: We are concerned about the current vaccine schedule.* We know that babies should be protected from serious diseases, but the current schedule is getting…well, strange. (Pulls a scroll from her purse and starts unwinding it, reading off the schedule as she goes, and inserting comments) So, at birth, they want our baby to get a Hepatitis B vaccination. We both test negative and are not at risk for that disease.

Father: Does our baby really need that one?

Doctor: Why yes, it is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

Mother: (absorbed with her scroll and ignoring the doctor’s comment) And another Hepatitis B at one month of age, and then at two months things really get going: seven vaccines?

Doctor: (smiling in an almost laughable manner) It isn’t that many shots. We can put off the Hepatitis B shot to two months and give Pediarix which is HepB, DTaP, and Polio in one shot. Then the baby will only have to get three injections. The other injected vaccines are Hib and PCV. Rotateq is given orally. Plus, only giving one shot doesn’t always confer immunity into adulthood.

Father: (swallowing and looking a little nauseated). You want to give our two month old baby eight different disease doses in one day? Has this been tested for safety?

Doctor: Of course. Vaccines are the most thoroughly tested of all drugs.

Mother: (unrolling the scroll some more) At four months we get the same 8 vaccines that we did at 2 months. (She passes one end of the scroll to the father to hold) Aren’t most of these diseases pretty rare in the U.S. right now?

Doctor: Not all of them. And the vaccinations are the only thing keeping us from having major outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases. We cannot allow the vaccination rate to drop!

Father: Right. We are up to seventeen vaccines and the baby is only four months old. When was the last time you had 17 vaccines in four months, doctor?

Doctor: My vaccines are not the question here. We need to stay focused on what is needed for public health.