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The Problem with Dr Bob’s Alternative Vaccine Schedule

Paul A. Offit, MD and Charlotte A. Moser

Many parents are reluctant to vaccinate their children for a variety of reasons, including a concern that children receive too many vaccines too early. To address parents’ concerns about vaccines, Dr Robert Sears, wrote The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for your Child, published in October 2007. The book has sold more than 40,000 copies. The article examines the reasons behind the popularity of Sears’ book, explains the logic behind the recommendations, and describes how Sears’ misrepresentation of vaccine science misinforms parents’ decision-making.

The article cites that Dr Sears’ message is one that casts fear and doubt about national public health agencies and pharmaceutical companies. It also explains that Sears believes vaccine mandates should be optional, vaccine-preventable diseases are not very harmful, that parents can rely on herd immunity, and that natural infection is better than vaccination. The authors provide evidence to refute each of these points.

Offit and Moser state that the problem with Dr Sears’ message is that he wants parents to make their own decisions about vaccination; however the article claims that Sears does not give parents the proper information to make an informed decision. Further, they claim that Sears’ general theories of science and medicine are poorly reasoned or illogical.

Dr Sears offers 2 alternative vaccine schedules for parents who are worried about vaccines. The article points out that there are many problems with these alternative schedules including decreasing immunization rates, increased office visits, and increased chance of acquiring a vaccine-preventable disease. In conclusion, if more parents rely on Sears’ immunization schedule, then fewer children will be protected and the consequence is outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease.

The full article is available at:

PEDIATRICS Vol. 123 No. 1 January 2009, pp. e164 – e169

The recommendations in this publication do not indicate an exclusive course of treatment or serve as a standard of medical care. Variations, taking into account individual circumstances, may be appropriate. This content is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute financial or legal advice. A financial advisor or attorney should be consulted if financial or legal advice is desired.
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