Did you have your children vaccinated?

Our Daddy MD Guide’s reply: I’m always asked “well, Dr. Baker would you do that with your child?” Among the most common specific examples are regarding vaccines, of which my wife put my personal and professional beliefs to the test.

I’m a huge proponent of vaccination. I’ve spent time overseas in different parts of the country working with children where vaccines are not so readily available, where we still encounter illnesses that seem impossible in the United States. We take for granted the profound impact vaccines have had on our children’s health. This is starting to come back to haunt us, however, with the slow rise of some of these formerly rare illnesses.

Consider this year’s whooping cough statistics compared to the past 50 years. I think it’s important to remember the value of vaccines, and I make sure my son gets all of his shots, on schedule, without hesitation — for his and his community’s benefit.

Zeyad Baker, MD, a dad of a 20-month-old son with one on the way. He is the chief pediatric officer of the Riverside Pediatric Group in New Jersey.

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Our Daddy MD Guide’s reply: I can tell you from experience that having a child almost die from a vaccine-preventable disease changed my outlook. I always believed in preventative health; however, I am now passionate about it. Vaccination is completely safe and is the best way to prevent certain illness. I am concerned about the press covering all of the supposed complications and side effects of vaccination that have no scientific evidence whatsoever, and the potential harm that non-vaccination creates. I truly believe that had my son been fully vaccinated against  the flu and his body had enough time to build full immunity before he got sick, he would not have spent two weeks in the ICU fighting for his life.

Scott Gorenstein, MD, a dad of an 11-year-old daughter and 6- and 4-year-old sons and the clinical director of the Hyperbaric Medicine Center at Winthrop-University Hospital.

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Our Daddy MD Guide’s reply: Many parents question the necessity of the many vaccines that are recommended for children today. My daughter is “fully vaccinated,” meaning that she has received all of the currently recommended vaccines. As a recently trained pediatrician, I have seen and experienced the difference that vaccines have for our children; during my training, I did not take care of a single child that died from preventable infections such as those from Haemophilus influenza, Pneumococcus, measles, diphtheria or even chicken pox. Many parents also ask about alternative vaccine schedules, and my response to this question is that the current vaccine schedule has been evaluated for both efficacy and safety, neither of which is true for any “alternative” schedule.

Kevin R. Polsley, MD, a dad of a four-year-old daughter, an assistant professor in the departments of pediatrics and internal medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, as well as a primary care physician at Loyola University Health System

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Our Daddy MD Guide’s reply: Yes, my children have all received their vaccines. This includes both the vaccines required for school, as well as those recommended, but not required. That being said, I did not personally administer the vaccines, as I let my children’s physician do that.  My role at home is “daddy,” not “doctor.”

There have been lots of discussions about vaccines causing autism, but within the medical community at large it is felt that none of the vaccines cause autism. Any of the studies that may have suggested that there was a link between vaccines and autism were reviewed and deemed to be flawed.

There are some contraindications to vaccines, such as those children who have certain allergies, may have had severe reactions to vaccines in the past, have had neurological conditions, or even a high fever on the day of the visit. However, these conditions are not common, and the child should be screened for them prior to being vaccinated.

Samuel Sandowski, MD, a dad of four daughters, the director of the Family Medicine Residency Program at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, New York, and  co-editor of the textbook, Primary Care