Today, children routinely receive 21 vaccinations before they even enter kindergarten — more than double what they received even a decade ago. Vaccine fears are at an all time high, intensified by the recall of the rotavirus vaccine and the problem of mercury-containing vaccines.
The debate has reached Congress, which conducted hearings in August 1999.
Like antibiotics, vaccines have prevented unfathomable suffering, but they also have a real, human cost. Just because we can make a vaccine doesn’t mean that we should give it. Instead we need a sober, continuing reevaluation of the risks and benefits of each vaccine in the ever-changing world in which we live.
The current vaccine recommendations represent the best information available and are updated at least once a year.
My hope is that our public conversation, rather than getting side-tracked by fear, strengthens this rational reevaluation process.
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