Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."
Question: Our son is 7 months old and besides the Hep B shot he received at birth, we have not had him vaccinated. We were going to schedule him for all of the routine shots when we started hearing all of the controversy - pro & con. Death, mental retardation to name a few of the tragedies as a result of getting some vaccines, and of course, death and serious illness as a result of not getting the vaccines - UGH! How do we determine the best path for our child? Is there a test to determine if he will have adverse reactions to the shots? - Georgia
Answer: Dear Georgia,
Wow, that's a loaded question!
I asked the same thing of my pediatrician when my kids were receiving their
I can tell you that some of the diseases that used to kill kids and people by
the thousands and even millions are no longer seen.
I've been in practice for 16 years and have not seen a case of polio,
measles, diphtheria, tetanus, smallpox,etc. I can only listen to my colleagues
that are 30 to 40 years in practice telling me all the unsightly and sad
stories of these diseases that are now obsolete, because of vaccinations.
Yes, there are times when an occasional side effect happens on very rare
instances. Fortunately, I have not seen anything more than moderate fevers and some
The vaccinations that we have available today are very purified and
practically without side effects except for those that I mentioned.
As far as a test to see if a child will react to a certain vaccine, I am not
aware of any.
We must way the risks versus the benefits of all that we do in life.
Please get all the information you can about anything that you do for
yourself and your children.
Educate yourself through books, parent groups and even the Internet. Most of
all, talk to your child's pediatrician. He or she will be in the best
position to help you determine what's best for your child. By the way,
between my three children, they received all of them. Approximately 50, give
or take a few!
I'm eagerly awaiting a vaccine for the common cold. Wouldn't that be nice!
Also see: My 10 year old daughter is incredibly prone to insect bites. Even when no one else is getting bitten, they seem to go for her! Any suggestions?
My 12 year old daughter experiences difficulty sleeping due to fear of the dark and being alone. Is this normal?
Ask Dr. Betti your questions
This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.