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Maternity Leave

Are Vaccines My Choice — or Yours?

Baby Ike, in the land of no germs. hide caption

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Today we're heading to our doctor for Ike's "one month" checkup.
So far, the office visits have been fun, as we chart Isaac's growth and our terrific pediatrician answers all our new-parent questions.

But there is one big question on the horizon, as I was reminded this weekend by a letter to "The Ethicist" columnist Randy Cohen in Sunday's New York Times. The reader asked whether it was ethical for the moms in her playgroup to force out a child because he hadn't been vaccinated.

Cohen's decided that by skipping vaccines, the mom is putting only her own child — and other unvaccinated ones — at risk. But the question remains: Are vaccinations a public health concern or a private decision?

Every state has a law requiring certain vaccines before kids can go to school, and the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the shots as a crucial part of a health plan. But what about parents who believe the potential damage outweighs the benefits?

I have my own thoughts on this, but it's yours I'm wondering about. So I'm asking.

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