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Q&A: Should we Immunize

Dr. Christine Wood, M.D


Q We are struggling with the whole immunization question. My SIL does not immunize her kids for "homeopathic" reasons. What is your experience with serious reactions (not the low grade fever type) to vaccines and/or the diseases they are designed to prevent?

A In general, with the vaccines, I have never seen serious, life-threatening or altering events occur. The new acellular pertussis vaccines has far less side effects than the old vaccine, which got a lot of press for bad reactions. The meningitis vaccine is very safe, and prevents a very serious disease that can leave a child with permanent disabilities. The MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) has recently come under scrutiny because of a study that showed a possible link with autism. We know this does not occur with a high frequency, but if some child has a predisposition and then gets the vaccine, could this trigger autism? We don't know for sure yet, and the US government is sponsoring a large study to look at this question. It may take several more years to determine this for sure.

I will not pretend to have a perfect answer to this new question with the vaccine. In general, I would counsel my patients to opt for the vaccines, although I am open to parents delaying or modifying the schedule if they so conclude that this is something they have concerns about, after they have done their own reading and investigating.

Christine Wood, MD

Click here to Ask Dr. Christine Wood questions about your baby's health

Dr. Christine Wood is a practicing pediatrician in Southern California. She attended the University of Detroit for her undergraduate degree in chemistry and received her medical degree from the University of Michigan. She completed her pediatric residency at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. She was Chief Resident there and then worked in the emergency room at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. After three years doing pediatric emergency room medicine she went into private practice. She received her lactation educator certification from the University of California, San Diego.

She is the author of "How to Get Kids to Eat Great and Love It," a book that addresses the issues of why and how to feed kids healthy. The book also covers information about environmental threats and the role of nutritional supplementation for children. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.

Christine is also the cofounder of Call Your a website designed to give concerned parents with non-emergency medical questions, solid, no-nonsense information that can give them information in deciding when to call the doctor and some home treatment advice. You can visit her website at

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