How Does The CDC Determine Vaccine Schedules? Michele Norris speaks with Dr. Carol Baker, chair of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. She describes how the CDC determines the schedules for children's immunizations.

How Does The CDC Determine Vaccine Schedules?

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Welcome to the program.

D: Thank you.

NORRIS: Dr. Baker, I want to lay down the basics first. If someone has a baby right now, this year, how many vaccines does the CDC suggest that that child should receive?

BAKER: Well, in the first two years of life, the number of vaccines would be approximately 12. And some of these can be combined into a single shot, and that's including the yearly influenza vaccine.

NORRIS: You know, take me back. Has there generally been a resistance to vaccines, or were they seen as a panacea to a difficult health problem?

BAKER: Now that we've had so many successes in preventing vaccine-preventable diseases like polio and meningitis, the diseases have disappeared from common view. And in that way, vaccines have sort of defeated themselves.

NORRIS: Now, I understand that you have a particular point of view. But for the parents that are out there listening to this conversation - and they have young children; they're making decisions about vaccination - what would you say to them? What do you say, in particular, to parents who are considering opting out?

BAKER: But the majority just want information. They've heard all these frightening things. They want the best for their children. And you need to educate them first about the diseases - because they don't know about the diseases.

NORRIS: Now, we want to be careful not to overstate or amplify a trend. Martin Kaste reported that 6.2 percent of kindergartners in Washington state get exemptions. But looking at these figures nationwide, less than 1 percent of children are getting zero vaccinations. That seems like a pretty tiny proportion.

BAKER: Dr. Baker, thank you very much for your time.

BAKER: My great pleasure, thank you.

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