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October 29, 2007


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I appreciate your comments. I agree that there's a lot of uneducated antivaccine-hype out there.

I do have a question. I had to get my six-year-old a Hepititis C shot before she was allowed to enter school this year. Isn't that a vaccine? Or is it something else? A bit confused.

While the disease, Hepatitis C, exists, there is not a vaccine for it. Currently, there are only vaccines for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. Your daughter probably got the Hepatitis A vaccine before school entry (Hep B is given as part of the infant vaccination series).
Dr B


Amen. I cringed when I saw that Oprah episode. Just awful that no one has called her on that.


Thank you for posting this. I have a month old son and have been unnerved by conflicting stories about vaccines. It is nice to hear a medical doctor's opinion on the net.


I too was horrified at Jenny McCarthy's book. I loved her Belly Laughs and Baby Laughs books, I loved her sense of humor. I just HATE that not only did she dredge up the vaccine causes autism rumor (it is a rumor) that was just starting to die down, but that she did obviously NO research in to her assumed facts. I feel for her and her child, but that is no excuse to spread these lies.


It seems these days many children are being diagnosed as autistic for many characteristics children develop as they grow. Not being interactive with others, not talking much before the age of 2, fits of temper, it just seems a lot of jumping the gun to me. My nephew's parents were recently told by their doctor that he resembles some characteristics that could lead to autism. There should definately be more testing and research on this subject. And as for Jenny McCarthy as well as anyone else making up their own facts out of their beliefs and opinions, facts before fiction? It's obvious she is concerned and a loving mother, but to publish a book by a celebrity with untrue statements that will of course stir up a hysteria upon loving and concerned mothers is just ridiculous. Let's leave it to the experts.


Thank you Dr. Brown for this article. Personally I think J. McCarthy is funny, but she is an entertainer not a medical expert. When entertainers make these kinds of statements it garners a lot of media attention and she doesn't even have her facts straight. Not vaccinating your children is irresponsible and the fact that so many people opt out of the shots now is crazy. Leave this discussion and research to the medical professionals!

Heather, an RN

Thank you for reminding us to use common sense. I watched Ms. McCarthy on the Oprah show and found many inconsistencies as well. To my knowledge, autism does not cause grand mal seizures. I have a son with Asperger's syndrome and understand the ferver to find an environmental culprit for autism. But you are correct to point out that medical research does not indicate vaccines cause autism. But we do know vaccines save lives! I wish media wouldn't give such creedence to celebrities in matters they are not experts in, because in this case, it is a life or death matter.

Mary Collignon

Thanks so much for posting your well written article. As a Nurse Practition I am continually asked about this issue and now I have even more ammunition.



I totally disagree with the above poster. Vaccines have been around for years. You had them when you were younger and nothing happened to you. In fact babies ingest more mecury on a daily basis than what is in the vaccine. I think it is a ploy of "We have to blame somebody, therefore, the pharmaceutical companies are to blame. It has never been proven that thimerosal "mecury" causes autism. I guess the so called smart parents were to stupid to realize that the case definition of autism has changed dramatically over the years. Hell if your child eyes don't blink, then they have autism. Come on people


Dr. Brown--Thank you for your wonderful article.

On the topic of chickenpox...my daughter was diagnosed with a case of chickenpox at 7 months of age (before the vaccine was offered). Luckily, her case turned out to be very mild. However, given the scary nature of the experience you share, it would have been helpful to have more information in the book about what do to if you encounter a case of chickenpox. Just a thought for the next edition.

Thanks again for all the information in your book. It is the first place we go when we have a question.


Thank you for this. The misinformation is what gets me the most. I hear people talk about the evil of vaccines and their mercury, when it took me 5 minutes on google to find that all vaccines given to children 7 and under (other than the flu vaccine) have not contained thimerosal for years. I wish people would really research, before just following a hype.


Yes! Yes! Yes!
That interview on Oprah drove me absoulutely NUTS. I am a Nurse Practitioner in Infectious Diseases, luckily not old enough to have experienced medical care pre-vaccine, but have read plenty in my training about life before we had vaccinations. If only everyone knew what you shared!
We need more people speaking out about this. Parents who choose to not vaccinate are doing what they thing is best for their kids, based on the opinions of under-educated, self-proclaimed "experts." It's terrible! We may not be able to take legal action against such people, but we can as a community of parents and *caring* medical providers create a culture that is intolerant of such dangerous (and often militantly judgemental) ignorance.


Dr Brown- to give you more ammunition, I'd like you to read her earlier book about her son's first year of life. Jenny McCarthy states that she had an emergency c-section and her baby wasn't breathing at birth. Possible oxygen deprivation might change things a little bit. But why not blame things on the medical establishment. Maybe we can start a class action suit or something.


This is a nice article and I found it to be quite reassuring, as I am among those hesitant to give vaccines.

Am I against vaccines? Absolutely not, but I do have concerns when vaccines are given all at once. It just seems like an awful lot to throw at an infants newly developing immune system. I'm also wary of the preservatives in the vaccines...not because of the effects of one shot, but rather the effects of five different shots (and the preservatives contained therein), and whether that is soundly tested.

Call it the Supersize syndrome. A hamburger is okay by itself, but you throw together the fries, shake and apple pie, now you have a problem. So do these vaccines get tested with the other vaccines, or is each treated as it's own study?

I've voiced my concerns to our pediatrician, but they dismiss my concerns as superstition, and who am I to argue? They're giving these vaccines every day, and I'm just a guy that worries. But still, I worry. Our little girl has gotten the vaccines on my pediatricians standard schedule because they refuse to spread them out, and that does bother me...but she hasn't had any nasty side effects, so I let them do it and stew on the inside.


Dr. Brown, thank you for this post. It's scary how much misinformation is out there and how people like Jenny McCarthy, well-intentioned or not, use the Internet and media to perpetuate myths and rumors. I loved her book "Belly Laughs" but she really ought to focus on her photo shoots and bad movies and leave the medical research to the professionals.

Islandkiwi: You're the one who signs the consent form so you deserve answers from your child's doctor. If they can't or won't address your concerns in a satisfactory manner, try to find a doctor who will treat you with more respect. Your child's pediatrician should be a partner in her health care, not an adversary!


Oprah's 4 interviews with Jill Bolte Taylor were the first that Oprah did after Eckhart Tolle and they take everything Tolle talks about to another level. Oprah's copy of Jill's book, MY STROKE OF INSIGHT, was dog-eared and all marked up and kept reading from it the way she read from A New Earth and recommended it highly.

Oprah's recommendation was enough for me. I read My Stroke of Insight and I loved it too. This story is as inspiring as The Last Lecture or Tuesdays with Morrie - and even better, it has a Happy Ending!

I bought the book on Amazon because they have it for 40% off retail and they also had an amazing interview with Dr Taylor that I haven't seen anywhere else - Here is the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/My-Stroke-Insight-Scientists-Personal/dp/0670020745/ref=pd_bbs_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1211471755&sr=1-2

Bridget Summers

Dr. Brown,
Thank you for your insight. I have vaccinated my first son and am continuing in same fashion with my second who is 7 months. I just have one question: Are there any vaccines that aren't truelly necessary? I ask, because my son will be going for his 9 month visit soon and will have excellent medical coverage, but by his 12 month visit my insurance will not be intact and I really worry about the cost of the vaccines. Please, I don't need anyone harrassing me about not putting a price-tag on my sons "health", but I really need to find out if I can avoid any vaccines or delay them at all. I do want him to be fully vaccinated, but am already stretching the pennies as it is. Thank you.

Ari Brown MD

Thanks for writing in. And, I am sure you are not alone in your concerns for the cost of healthcare for your family. With the economy as it is, and parents losing their jobs and health insurance, it is a struggle for many.

I will get to the specific vaccination question in a minute, but I suggest you look at a couple of options so your child can get the healthcare he needs. First is the CHIP program--Childrens Health Insurance Program--which you may be eligible for.
The other is the VFC, or Vaccinations for Children Program. City clinics as well as private practices provide government funded/subsidized vaccinations for kids whose parents are uninsured. There should be no reason your child cannot get his shots thanks to the VFC program--

As for 1 year shots, yes there is some wiggle room as all of them can be given between 12-15 months. But, it's best to protect your child by vaccination as early as possible--especially when you can get those shots for free. You shouldn't have to wait.

Hope that helped!

Baby Doll Toys

True that every time we are trying to keep our kids healthy and protected. I have one daughter and she's been vaccinated.

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