Vaccine Philosophy

At Needham Pediatrics, we strongly believe that vaccinating children is one of the most important services we provide. The advent of vaccines and the control or eradication of previously feared diseases such as polio, Hemophilus influenza epiglottitis, and Pertussis (whooping cough) have been some of the greatest successes in modern medicine.

As physicians, we must have the humility to recognize that some of the treatments we recommend today will likely be rejected or modified by subsequent generations of clinicians. So, we need to keep an open mind about the risks and benefits of the treatments we prescribe, and we must continue to be watchful for any adverse effects of our current treatment protocols. This is true about vaccines, as it is about any medical procedures or protocols we pursue.

Nonetheless, there is good reason to be very confident about our current vaccine schedule. The vaccines we give today are given to millions of children worldwide every year, and there has been ample opportunity for research and surveillance about their safety and efficacy. The published research is uniformly reassuring.

For this reason, we recommend the standard vaccine schedule, as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

There is no published scientific evidence to indicate that an alternative vaccine schedule would in any way be superior to the schedule recommended by the CDC. In fact, there is published research showing that children who receive vaccines on a delayed or "spaced" schedule do not differ in developmental outcomes from children who receive the recommended schedule.

Popular authors such as Dr. Bob Sears, who publish books for parents recommending alternative vaccine schedules, are not vaccine experts. Dr. Sears is a general pediatrician, with no special training in vaccine science. Dr. Sears has not published any research about vaccine safety or efficacy. We see no reason to think that Dr. Sears knows more about vaccine safety than do the panels of world-recognized experts convened regularly by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. We share the opinion of many pediatricians that Dr. Sears is capitalizing on and encouraging parents' unfounded fears for his own personal gain.

At Needham Pediatrics, we believe that parents who choose alternative vaccine schedules such as "Dr. Bob's" schedule are putting their children at unnecessary risk by delaying important vaccinations. These children also suffer additional pain because of extra needle sticks.

We understand that there is a lot of discussion about vaccines among parents and on the Internet. We are happy to answer your questions individually during your visits with us.