Dear Dr. Roach: My good-hearted friend is very concerned about vaccines, particularly those given to infants. She has a long list of about 40 different vaccines that are given to infants. I know that the number of vaccines have increased since my children were babies, and both of my daughters asked their pediatricians to space out the vaccines more widely for my grandchildren than what they routinely do. Both doctors complied, and all grandchildren were vaccinated.
My friend does not believe in vaccines generally. She believes that polio, for example, was on a downhill trend in the U.S. before vaccines for it became available. I know there is evidence worldwide on the importance of vaccines. My husband is a Rotarian. Rotary International has worked with others for decades in the fight to eradicate polio.
My friend also does not believe that the Food and Drug Administration requires testing for safety and effectiveness for flu vaccines. She does not believe the vaccines actually prevent flu and death. I personally get a flu shot every year. I read that the U.S. had over 80,000 deaths last year as a result of complications from the flu. I also recently read that over 100 children died of flu complications in the U.S. last year, and most of these children were not vaccinated.