Immunization and the Internet: How Would You Handle This Mom?

October 2, 2014

It's Monday morning and you're only 20 minutes behind. Per routine, you ask the mother of the 12-month-old in your office if she has any questions about the shots he's about to receive...

It is a busy Monday mid-morning, but so far you are only about 20 minutes behind schedule. As you are finishing up your 12-month-old well child exam, you hand the mother the VIS sheets and tell her the nurse will be in to give the shots. “Do you have any questions or concerns about the shots?” you ask with one hand on the door handle. Then you hear the dreaded words:

“Well, I have been doing a little research on the Internet and ... let's skip the chickenpox shot. That's such a mild disease; I would rather my son get chickenpox and never have to worry about a second infection. After all, doesn't infection from natural disease produce a better immune response than a vaccine?”

You pause, and then tell mom:A. She is mistaken. The protection provided by a single dose of the chicken pox vaccine (Varivax) is equally as good as that from a mild case of wild chickenpox against a future case of varicella.

B. Before the vaccine, chickenpox killed several hundred children every year. Now the number is just a handful in the United States.

C. Your child's risk of later developing shingles is less if he gets the shot vs contracting the wild disease.

D. If your son does get the varicella vaccine combined with the MMR, he won't have to get an extra shot and there is no increased risk of side effects vs getting the MMR and varicella vaccines separately. Please leave your recommendation/comments below.

For Answer and Discussion, CLICK HERE.