There's a war going on between two top pediatricians. Dr. Paul Offit, a big vaccine proponent and spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatrics, is slamming a book by the noted Dr. Robert Sears (son of William).
Dr. Sears' best-selling book, The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child, includes Dr. Bob's Alternative Vaccine Schedule, a formula by which parents can space out vaccines and delay the ones for the lowest-risk diseases.
Right now, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies get 14 different vaccines, requiring as many as 5 shots in a single visit and 26 by age 2. Dr. Sears feels more parents would opt to vaccinate if they had the choice of using his slower vaccine schedule.
He might be right. Throngs of parents are walking into their pediatrician offices demanding this schedule, and those docs are getting pretty teed off. Enter Dr. Offit.
He says Dr. Sears "misrepresents vaccine science and misinforms parents trying to make the best decisions for their children. At the very least, the schedules will increase the time during which children are susceptible to diseases. If more parents insist on Sears' vaccine schedules, then fewer children will be protected, with the inevitable consequence of continued or worsening outbreaks of preventable diseases."
Dr. Sears lashes back by saying Dr. Offit "greatly misrepresented the overall message of this book as being anti-vaccine." He says he is pro-vaccine and illuminates both sides of the debate in an effort to help everyone understand the fears behind vaccines. He says Dr. Bob's Alternative Vaccine Schedule encourages parents to vaccinate, and would actually raise vaccination rates.
Is Dr. Sears right? Would non-vaccinating moms change their minds if they could immunize their children more selectively and slowly? Would you?