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Alternative Vaccine Schedule Stirs Debate

Article in Journal Criticizes Popular Book on Timing of Kids' Vaccines
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Alternative Vaccine Schedule: What Sears Says continued...

"I almost see myself as an ally of the AAP in that I'm finding ways to encourage parents who otherwise would not vaccinate [their children] to go ahead and vaccinate," Sears says. "I believe that my options will actually increase the vaccination rate. My book is admittedly not pro the AAP's vaccine schedule. My advice does differ in the way vaccines are given, but ultimately, I agree that vaccines should be given. For parents afraid of the way AAP says to do it, I give them an alternative."

He says "there is no science that is conclusive enough to show any links between vaccines and autism" but that his book provides "ways to vaccinate if you are worried about autism that may decrease the theoretical link if you believe there is such a link."

While numerous studies by the CDC, Institute of Medicine, and others have found no link between vaccines and autism, many people, including celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy, remain unconvinced.  

Their case was bolstered earlier this year when a federal court ruled that a Georgia girl was entitled to compensation because she developed autism-like symptoms after receiving vaccines that aggravated a pre-existing condition.

These ongoing fears have had a tangible impact: A 2005 survey of vaccine-refusing parents published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found that two-thirds of respondents said their main reason for rejecting vaccines was concern that they might be harmful.

The co-founders of a vaccine safety watchdog group, the National Vaccine Information Center, blame their children's learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder on reactions to the diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus vaccine (DPT).  

Impact of Vaccine Delay

Offit, who is a co-patent holder of Merck’s RotaTeq vaccine for rotavirus, says he understands why parents are concerned about the number of vaccines their children receive.

"Most recently, with the addition of several new vaccines to the infant schedule, some parents have become concerned that children receive too many vaccines too early," Offit says in the article. "Given that young infants currently receive 14 different vaccines, requiring as many as five shots at a single visit and 26 inoculations by 2 years of age, the concern that children might be overwhelmed by too many vaccines is understandable."

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