How Does The CDC Determine Vaccine Schedules?

Originally published on September 13, 2011 6:48 pm
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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

Welcome to the program.

D: Thank you.

NORRIS: Dr. Baker, I want to lay down the basics first. If someone has a baby right now, this year, how many vaccines does the CDC suggest that that child should receive?

BAKER: Well, in the first two years of life, the number of vaccines would be approximately 12. And some of these can be combined into a single shot, and that's including the yearly influenza vaccine.

NORRIS: You know, take me back. Has there generally been a resistance to vaccines, or were they seen as a panacea to a difficult health problem?

BAKER: Now that we've had so many successes in preventing vaccine-preventable diseases like polio and meningitis, the diseases have disappeared from common view. And in that way, vaccines have sort of defeated themselves.

NORRIS: Now, I understand that you have a particular point of view. But for the parents that are out there listening to this conversation - and they have young children; they're making decisions about vaccination - what would you say to them? What do you say, in particular, to parents who are considering opting out?

BAKER: But the majority just want information. They've heard all these frightening things. They want the best for their children. And you need to educate them first about the diseases - because they don't know about the diseases.

NORRIS: Now, we want to be careful not to overstate or amplify a trend. Martin Kaste reported that 6.2 percent of kindergartners in Washington state get exemptions. But looking at these figures nationwide, less than 1 percent of children are getting zero vaccinations. That seems like a pretty tiny proportion.

BAKER: Dr. Baker, thank you very much for your time.

BAKER: My great pleasure, thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.