Physician Focus, February 2007: Vaccines and Immunizations

Vaccines are some of medicine’s best preventive measures. Some, like the Salk and Sabine vaccines for polio, have eradicated debilitating diseases altogether. Some prevent illness for all ages, like flu vaccines. And many have erased childhood diseases, like mumps, measles, and chickenpox. New ones – like Gardasil for cervical cancer – are added to our protective arsenal. Yet new cases of polio, whooping cough, measles and mumps have appeared, here in the United States as well as overseas. How are vaccines developed and how effective are they? What are the risks of immunizations? Who should be immunized? And how valid is the controversy surrounding some of the vaccines?   

Bruce Karlin, M.S., Program Host

Susan M. Lett, M.D., M.P.H., Medical Director, Immunization Program, Department of Public Health, Commonwealth of Mass.

Sean Palfrey, M.D., Founder and Director of the Immunization Initiative, Mass. Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics; Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Public Health, Boston University School of Medicine; Pediatrician, Boston Medical Center.

Co-produced with Hopkinton Community Access Television, HCAM-TV, Hopkinton Mass.

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