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Health Topics

Vaccines

Please see the minimum vaccine requirement for Pediatric Health Care at Newton Wellesley.

Like politics, there have been a lot of opinions about vaccines, pro and con, and this discussion has drawn a lot of media attention through the years.  As pediatricians, we are at the forefront of this discussion, yet we as the experts MUST be versed in the science as to what is true and what is not. Despite all of the stories and concerns about vaccines, we know they ALL have been disproven, and the concerns against them were originally based in false science, non-evidence based medicine, or inadequate studies.  Yet, we forget, in this world where we currently live, there are still major outbreaks on college campuses, amusement parks, places of worship, or in pockets of non vaccinating parents, where these diseases still kill our children.  Ask your grandparents what it was like to live where children were getting epiglottis from haemophilus influenza B, the whooping cough, or the chicken pox.  As pockets of anti-vaxxer communities pop up, we are seeing, once again, these diseases in those who have not been vaccinated, those too young or medically unable to get vaccines, or those without an immune system.

Most of the controversies about vaccines have focus on whether vaccines, or preservatives in vaccines like thirmersal, cause autism or developmental delays.  All of the current research, which encapsulates years of work with millions of children, convincingly disprove a connection between vaccines and autism/developmental delays.  Weakening the immune system and "over loading" the immune system has also been disproven through research.   

As pediatricians, we are sensitive to the scary vaccine stories. We hear parents concerns on injecting anything foreign into their children, and understand the rare complications that can accompany vaccines.  While there are rare, and  sometimes serious complications with vaccines, they are extremely uncommon, and the risks are FAR outweighed by the life-saving benefits of vaccines.

Yet, some parents will request to delay or use an "alternative schedule" for vaccines, thinking that as long as they get them, their child is safe and there is no downside.  In fact, many vaccines are given to protect a child when they are most vulnerable to those diseases, so the delay can put a child at risk.  Following any alternative schedule goes against our medical advice.  We have provided a timeline for those still interested in doing an alternative schedule with minimum requirements to ensure the safety of your child.  For those in this category, please inform all doctors and nurses when your child is sick as to their immunization status.  This information could influence the medical care of your child.  

For those who refuse to meet our minimum requirements, or do not want to vaccinate their child, we will help you find another care provider who can meet your needs.  

The following vaccines MUST be given by the age group listed at a minimum (for full listing of vaccines, please see our FAQ section):

  • Diptheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP) – 3 doses before 24 months of age, 5 doses before 6 years of age
  • Hemophilus Influenza, type B (Hib) – 3 doses before 12 months of age, 4th dose before 24 months of age
  • Pneumococcus (PCV) – 3 doses before 12 months of age, 4th dose before 24 months of age
  • Hepatitis B (Hep B) – 3 doses by 6 years of age
  • Inactivated Polio (IPV) – 3 doses by 24 months of age, 4th dose by 6 years of age
  • Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) – First dose before 24 months of age, 2nd dose before 6 years of age
  • Varicella (VZV or Chicken pox) - First dose before 24 months of age, 2nd dose before 13 years of age
  • Tetanus, Diptheria, and Pertussis (Tdap) – 1 dose before 13 years of age
  • Meningococcal (MCV4) – 1 dose prior to 18 years of age